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Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

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Mar/Apr 2014

Cover photograph: Portrait of David Stopps, Friars Club founder, taken at The Evolution of Friars Exhibition, (Bucks County Museum to July 5) Photograph by Pete Griffith, All People Photography See page 7


Spoilt for choice

Shop in style at Wendover boutique

Poetry in motion

New BMW is quite a drive See our website at:

Property insight

Landlords & tenants with Martin Kemp

Four in a bed

Free local listings for events and businesses

Ian & Elle are stars of the show Beauty, style, music, motors and much, much more...

w Tickets to the BBC Food show summer w A pair of backdoorshoes w w dinner for Two at the Crown at Granborough w

For all your stone needs...

Our extensive range includes:

l Over 30 different natural stone paving options l Variety of finishes including hand cut, tumbled, sawn and honed l Natural stone block paving l Cobbles and pebbles l Rockery stone l Over 50 different ornamental gravels l Swimming pool edging l Range of interior stone for floors, walls & worktops l Natural stone walling l Feature stones and water features l Bespoke fireplaces and hearths l Bespoke digital masonry service

Interior stone & Scavolini Kitchens at our Gallery in Thame The Gallery Stoneworld, 43A Upper High Street, Thame, Oxon, OX9 2DW. Tel: 01844 279307 Email:

Exterior stone at Great Milton

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


The Hambledon Wing Open May 2013. To enquire please call 01296 747000 or visit

Exceptional Elderly Care in Buckinghamshire Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014




solutions campaigns

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cost effective rollers banners


web design

Church View

Established 1992

Funeral Directors

The Independent Family Funeral Service



Are you looking for professional, creative design and print solutions under one roof? Feel free to contact us to see what we can do for your business, whether it be a complete project or a re-vamp of your corporate stationery

Telephone: 01296 398553


24 Hour Service

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

46 Buckingham Street Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP20 2LL

29/10/2013 12:42

A tradition of dignity, respect & choice

‘The Art of Wood Burning’

JØtul “fighting the cold since 1853”

The most comprehensive showroom in Oxfordshire Over 75 stoves and 15 under fire on display Kiln dried and Eco logs

Jøtul – logo

HETAS registered. Ample free parking. Boundary Business Park, Wheatley Road, Garsington, OX44 9EJ Showroom open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm, Saturday 10am-1pm For technical advice it is advisable to make an appointment

01865 361505 Featured stoves from JØtul Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Luxury Coach Holidays

Theatre trips, day trips and short breaks

DayTrips, Theatres & Shows

Sat 12th Thorpe Park: £42 Chessington World of Adventures: £46 Sat 19th ‘Mamma Mia’ matinée Theatre Trip: £79 ‘Phantom of the Opera’ matinée Theatre Trip: £70 Sat 19th Cadbury World m at Easter: £31 m . w w w : onlineBruges via Eurotunnel: £39 Sun Book20th Sun 20th ‘Dancing on Ice’ NIA Birmingham: £69

Day Trips: May Thurs 1st Sat 10th Tue 13th Sun 18th Thu 22nd

Highgrove Garden Tour: £49 Malvern Spring Gardening Show: £35 Olympic Legacy Tour & Lunch: £45 ‘The Commitments’ & Carvery Lunch: £79 Chelsea Flow Show: £79

Day Trips: June Sun 8th Mon 9th Thu 19th

Pullman Orient Express: London to Folkestone: £235 Lee Valley Olympic Tour & Cream Tea Cruise: £45 Ladies Day at Ascot Silver Ring: £59, Grandstand: £99

Haworth 1940s weekend

BIG BAND BREAK! The Orchid 4-star Hotel, Nottingham,

Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman all left their mark on the music world with some of the best Swing tunes of yesterday. Combine that with the orchestral and popular sounds of Bert Kaempfert and James Last - what a great night! Join us for this fabulous two day break with excellent accommodation, for one night with dinner and breakfast included. 2 Days: Sun 27th July £115pp / £105 for Travel Club members (Single supplement £15. No major interchange)

Big Band Break Thursford

Thursford Christmas Spectacular:

The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is the biggest and most exciting Christmas show in the UK with dazzling dancers, beautiful costumes, Christmas songs, carols and outstanding music and singing from a cast of hundreds. Day Trips from the local area only Wed Nov 12th, Tue Nov 18th & Thur Nov 27th: £65 (Coach Travel & entrance). 2 days from the local area only Thur Nov 20th & 27th: £145 (Coach Travel, entrance & 1 night stay half board. No major Interchange) Single supplement £10. 3 Days - Interchange Fri Nov 14th & 28th, Fri Dec 5th: £259 (Coach Travel, entrance & 2 nights stay half board). Single supplement £50

Haworth 1940s weekend Holiday Inn Leeds Brighouse Every Springtime Haworth recreates a 1940s weekend, complete with RAF vintage plane flypast, jive dancing in the streets and even a visit from a ‘Winston Churchill’. The event is organized by the local community to raise funds for ‘Help for Heroes’ and has become highly popular. Fri 16th May - 3 Days Half Board: £175. Single room supplement. £45


Motts Holidays 4 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2LD BOOKING HOTLINE: 01296 336666 6

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Ri HOng LI now 01 DA fo 29 Y B r y 6 RO o 33 C ur 66 H 20 66 UR 14 E!

Day Trips: April

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Great rates Amazing results To advertise in Vale Life Magazine Call Charlie on 07702 006218

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details


Style file


Fitness made fun




Sounds like a plan

Spoilt for choice


Beautiful botanics

Spring loaded


Time for action

What’s your style?


Something’ cooking

Spring is here


Looking good

Chalk of the town


Property insight

Fascinating finds


Join the jet set

Muddy Stilettos Awards 2014


Polenta Italiano

Happy Birthday Belmore


Food glorious food!

Radio helps make big day possible


Four in a bed

Strokes of genius


Take the tour

Who needs snow?!


Poetry in motion

10 11 12 15 18 20 21 22 27 28 29

Katy looks at the new Spring collections Thrills galore in store at Chocolate Wendover boutique has bags of style From winter blues to spring hues It’s fun shopping with a personal stylist Studio’s Spring collection is inspired selection Janice is potty for Annie’s paint Chatelaine holds key to Sally’s collection ‘Your nominations please’, says Muddy Belmore Centre celebrates 15 years Listeners moved by Marria’s story Swim school has new pool Why Nordic walking keeps you fit

For the perfect workout, get a pole! Mood boards make the process fun Natural world has come inside Editor drawn into kitchen sink drama AGA Shop launches fab new showroom Paving projects are pretty as a picture Useful advice from Martin Kemp Serviced apartments beat plush hotel Giuliana shares her kitchen secrets Food festival is on the menu Ian and Elle are stars of the show Back in the saddle for wheelie good cause New BMW is a dream of a drive

Smile please!

of important local figures. This doesn’t necessarily mean, highpowered, successful or celebrity types, just people of interest locally ow what fabulous or who have made a difference to weather we’re having! our communities. Suggestions are Takes me back to the welcome, please email. glorious summers of the 70s. I Our first is founder of Friars seem to remember weeks of clear Music Club, David Stopps. He blue skies and sunshine, but then is pictured at Bucks Museum most things seem to improve looking back. As time goes by even in Aylesbury where a fabulous exhibition of Friars memorabilia is the bad bits don’t seem quite so on show for the next few weeks. bad! On our cover David is pictured Talking of looking back - who remembers going to gigs at Friars in in front of one of the exhibits - a Aylesbury? Our front cover picture, photograph taken by Geoffrey taken by Pete Griffith of All People Tyrell in 1977 of The Ramones in action at Friars Club, Aylesbury Photography in Waddesdon is the Civic Centre. Here he is again at first in a series of portraits Pete the exhibition with Pink Floyd’s is taking for Vale Life Magazine



ongratulations to the following Feb/Mar edition competition winners! Hopefully your prizes will have arrived by now, please let us know if not. Commiserations to

those who weren’t so lucky - read on though for more competitions inside this edition, including the chance to win: A meal for two at The Crown at Granborough; a pair of Backdoorshoes and a Funky Laundry

‘wave drumkit’ behind him. Those of a certain age will have no doubt about the impact David and his team had on local lives promoting the amazing concerts they did through the 60s, 70s, and 80s. We hope to follow up with an

bag; Tickets to The BBC Good Food Show Summer. Last issue’s prizewinners were: Dinner for two at The Hundred at Ashendon: Susie Shott, Thame A pair of detachable shoestraps:

interview, next edition, so watch this space... Happy reading!


Charlie Trott, Editor

Emma Sterry, Aylesbury; Alison Lowndes-Kinight, Wendover; Donna Kitchen, Hemel Hempstead A Slenderiix homeopathic weight management product: Sandra Creed, Hardwick

Front cover picture: David Stopps of Friars Club (see above). First in a series of Vale Life portraits by All People Photography, Waddesdon. Vale Life Magazine is designed and published by House of Mouse, 23 Glenham Road, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3WD Telephone: 01844 261579 Mobile: 07702 006218 Website: Email: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of Vale Life. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies, omissions or late changes. No part of this publication may be Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014 reproduced without the permission of the publishers. Printed in the UK by The Magazine Printing Company

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

7 7

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

with Katy Dyer

Personal stylist and fashion expert Katy scours our local boutiques and passes on tips and tricks for looking your best, plus the latest news on the high street trends Next: Denim Shirt Dress £30


ring on the Spring! We are beginning to see bursts of new life with splashes of colour from crocus and daffodils plus the first signs of blossom. So what better way to celebrate the start of the new season than by updating your wardrobe with items from the new Spring/Summer collections now in stores. Even if you are not a fan of bright colours, think about adding something vibrant to your look using accessories - jewellery, scarves, bags and shoes are a great way to update your existing wardrobe and create a new twist to one of your favourite outfits. Candy Pop There are lots of pastel brights around this Spring, from sugar pink to peppermint green. A great way to add some subtle colour to the neutrals in your wardrobe. Look for soft tops and accessories which will set off an outfit and make a statement. Pendant necklaces and quirky bags are a quick, simple and easy way to update your look without breaking the bank. What colour neutral? Navy is still big news in the fashion world as a great neutral to form the basis of your wardrobe with essential basics of suits, trousers and jackets. But brighter blues and golden browns are also making an appearance for the new season, so take the opportunity to seek out the best neutral for you this Spring. If you have more muted colouring then soft colours such as mink, charcoal and cocoa will make great choices. If you have more contrast in your colouring, try stronger combinations such as black and white or navy and baby pink.

FROM, Thame: ‘Betsy’ clutch bag from Miller and Jeeves £48.75 8

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Jean Genie Denim is available in all forms this season - from structured jackets to soft shirt dresses, dressed up or down this will take you from daytime to evening by adding a bit of glamour with sparkle or an ontrend handbag or clutch.

Skirt the issue Skirts are out in force for the new season. Be it mini or maxi, they will make a welcome change from dresses which have been so popular over the past couple of seasons. If you are petite, take care with volume in skirts which can overwhelm your figure. If you are taller, you have the choice of bold prints - so make the most of it! Be Radiant in Orchid This year’s must have shade is Pantone’s ‘Colour of the Year’ Radiant Orchid. Slightly bolder than lavender, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if the colour works for you it will certainly bring your look up to date for 2014. For those with warmer colouring, stick to brighter coral and apricot shades to liven up your new season wardrobe. Print Perfect Prints from abstract florals to painterly designs will really appeal to those who crave a bit of drama and creativity in their look. If it’s not quite you, try softer prints in scarves or even linings to add an element of interest. Animal print in a variety of colours is still big news and continues to be seen from catwalk to high street, so don’t be afraid to bring out your inner feline. Put a Spring in your step for the new season, and don’t be afraid to brighten up your look with accents of colour - and remember, you’re never fully dressed without a smile! l Katy Dyer is an award-winning personal stylist and image consultant. From her home studio in Thame, she can help you discover the confidence to change or develop your personal or professional style and image whether it’s a new career, a new stage in your life, finding the right outfit for a special occasion or to completely reinvent your look and make the most of you. For more details about the products and services available, visit: or email:

Lovely & Lovely, Thame: Collectif Marina Jumper £29.50

Lovely & Lovely, Thame: Celine Pullover Red Soul £55

FROM, Thame: Graduate Collection Pink Stag Scarf £69.99

Curve, Wendover: Nora Dress from Bernshaw £339

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Fransa top

There’s thrills galore in store at Chocolate Boutique this Spring, where the new season stock is just so fab, the coolest of cookies will find themselves feeling as dizzy as kids in a sweetshop...


hocolate Boutique in Princes Risborough had a busy 2013. The fashion store has become a firm favourite with local ladies for their excellent range of quality, wearable fashions, respected labels and reasonable pricing. This season owner Jo Louis has added Danish clothing company Masai. It’s described as ‘clothing for the adult, fashionconscious woman, who prefers a relaxed and individual style. They have some lovely tops, jackets, dresses and tunics in cool pinks, whites and blues, feminine floral prints and abstracts. “We specialise in easy to wear fashion,” says Jo. “Labels such as Sandwich are very wearable and have some lovely colour options this season - gorgeous jeans in teal and navy. To complement Anna Scott has some lovely tops and dresses in pale colours with a dip-dyed effect. Desigual our sought-after

Anna Scott

Spanish label is always vibrant and colourful, this season with some flamboyant floral prints to make you stand out, while Uttam Boutique’s Crane & Lotus Print Dress is lovely with a bold, oriental influenced print in pale soft colours.” With colourful crinkle leg jeans and three quarter length leggings, lightweight loosefitting knitwear and staples in soft pale pinks and cream shades, as well as brighter more striking colours, Chocolate’s new season offering is well worth a look. For regular news, offers and information on special events email your details to: or see the Chocolate Boutique website as below.

The con

l Chocolate Boutique, 19 High Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0AE Tel: 01844 346688 Website: Open 9.30am-5pm, Monday-Saturday.





Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014



Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Andrew Gardner at Wendover is something of an enigma. You just wouldn’t expect to find a sizeable, successful, independent clothing store, offering a huge range of the most luxurious, superior quality clothing and accessories, located in a Buckinghamshire village...


e are a destination store,” says owner Tim Guy. “It sounds crazy but we have regular customers that come here from all over the world. It may only be once a year but they love shopping here. We offer quality, value and a high level of service and we have the space to stock a large range of very wearable clothing, footwear and accessories from some 28 different suppliers. If you like Gant, Eton or Paul & Shark, say, you’ll find a much larger selection to choose from here than in most stockists.” It’s not just the choice - although this is the only shop in the world that carries the entire Canali cloth collection - it’s more that Tim’s passion, energy and enthusiasm are infectious and the fact he will always go the extra mile to ensure a customer’s complete satisfaction. He comes from a family of retailers and has honed his customer service skills and knowledge of fashion over 25 years working at Harrods. He joined the legendary department store straight from school, working his way up to Clothing Buyer, a position he held from 1989 to 2005: “I loved it,” says Tim, “I have a real passion for tailoring. Eventually I wanted to run my own business though and when, in 2006, I heard Andrew was selling his store and that he was a Canali stockist, I knew it was for me. I’m a massive Canali fan, I introduced the firm to Harrods while I was there - their products are second to none and I

was keen to continue working with them.” Andrew Gardner founded the business back in 1976. From humble beginnings as a small menswear store at Number 1 The Tanyard on Tring Road, it has grown and now not only fills units 2, 3 and 4 as well, but boasts a popular ladieswear section too. The 2,500ft2 boutique now specialises in wearable, high quality, clothing, boasting superior workmanship and exciting details: from Canali - the ultimate in made to measure suits; to the wildest shirts from colourful, luxury ‘brand for connoisseurs of life’ Robert Graham; to work and leisurewear from popular premium lifestyle labels such as Brax (fabulous trousers in at least 20 different colours), Gant, Paul and Shark, Eton, Façonnable, 1 Like No Other (unique numbered shirts), Without Prejudice, Hiltl and many more, including shoes by Stemar ‘quality, style, comfort and timelessness’ Crockett & Jones, and Barker: “Our clothes are all quality products,” says Tim, “but good value too and our pricing is competitive - you won’t find these items for less elsewhere.” Andrew Gardner’s extensive new Spring range is in store now and the shop is well worth a visit. It’s a friendly place to browse - the atmosphere is relaxed, a welcoming coffee awaits and you’re encouraged to try items on. Clothes shopping here is a thoroughly enjoyable experience - no wonder for many it is a regular destination!

Tim Guy Canali Gant

l Andrew Gardner, 1-4 The Tanyard, Tring Road, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6ND Telephone 01296 625488 Open: Tue-Sat, 9am-6pm

Robert Graham


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Andrew Gardner, Wendover

Eton shirt

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

It’s a frantic time for any fashion independent and at Gallivant Boutique Heather, Linda and team have firmly banished the winter blues busily sorting their new Spring season selection...


fter what seems like months of wet weather and storms the chilly winter months now seem to be behind us and at Gallivant Boutique in Thame the arrival of the new season clothes has really brightened things up! Gallivant’s Spring offering is full of mood enhancing colours and prints from soft candy pastels to a sharp black and white and from bright tangerine hues to Mediterranean azure blues. “We keep an eye on the fashion catwalks,” says owner Heather, “and select the best and most wearable trends to make up our spring and summer collections. “A good investment piece for your new season wardrobe is a jacket for layering - a girl can never have too many jackets! One of the most versatile and fashionable shapes for 2014 is the cropped jacket which can be the boxy ‘moto’ shape or a new twist on the sporty ‘bomber’ style. “Both styles work equally well with the new ladylike flared skirts or more body-con shapes, they also team well with tailored trousers, as well as skinny jeans or ankle crops. “Or you could try the ‘shacket’; a mix between a shirt and a jacket. And watch out for the return of Chic French label Gerard Darel to Gallivant, with the perfect collarless coat and classic trench.


Marc Cain

Luisa Cerano

“Tops to look out for are spring knits and sweatshirts with statement prints and the ‘shift’ blouse, which is essentially a cross between a blouse and a T-shirt. Both look great whether paired with a skirt or trousers. “We also have some key new looks for the season in the shop: button-through shirt dresses, pleated skirt styles and gorgeous new prints mixed with colourful lace. One of our favourite new designers is Hale Bob, who are renowned for their colourful prints. We have a selection at Gallivant which are simply stunning.” To complete your outfit, Gallivant has a lovely selection of shoes, bags, jewellery and accessories: “Flat shoes were all over the catwalks this season,” says Heather, “styles range from pool sliders to heavy-soled plimsolls; loafers; pointed-toe ladylike courts and ballet flats. We have some fabulous statement jewellery, scarves and bags too which will add a flourish to any outfit. “Of course we would love to see you in store and it’s always fun to try on items and see what works well together but if you can’t make it in, we are busy updating our website with lots of pictures of our new collections. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates, news and information too.”

l Gallivant Boutique, 6 Greyhound Walk, Thame , Oxfordshire , OX9 3DY Marc Cain Tel: 01844 218097 Sport Website: Facebook: Gallivant-Boutique Twitter: @Gallivant_Thame

Velvet ‘Shaket’

Armani Jeans

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014 Our commitment to value means that we match the prices of the high street competitors (this excludes online-only or mail order businesses). Service conditions must be comparable. See our ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ leaflet in our shops or online for details.

John Lewis at Wycombe has been restyled, hugely increasing the shop floor area to introduce men’s and women’s clothing. A free personal styling service is available too, but first you might wish to enjoy a complimentary treatment or make up session. Andrea Frost investigates...


ew Season Style’ and ‘Transitional Wardrobe’ are phrases I see only too often in fashion magazines at this time of year! There was a time, in the very distant past, when I embraced the challenge and excitement of putting a new season look together, but with a combination of ‘middle age’ and a high cake input to contend with ‘challenge’ is the key word here. These days it seems difficult just to find a new lipstick that suits me! So could this be where a personal stylist/ shopper and make-up expert would help? I’m told the fabulous, newly re-styled John Lewis at High Wycombe is THE place to go! The outlet, already a temple of contemporary lifestyle, has expanded its repertoire to include a Beauty and Fashion floor that would put any top London department store to shame. With beauty brands such as ‘Crème de la Mer’, Clinique, Clarins, Chanel, Liz Earle ,Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier to name just a few and fashion labels such as Gerard Darel, Reiss, Damsel In A Dress, White Stuff and many more. The choice is tremendous and could be overwhelming but for the fact that both floors are very well laid out and the experts on hand plentiful! I stopped to admire the ‘Crème de la Mer’ beauty area and Sandy, who embodied her product superbly, explained how 50 years ago, the creator, an aerospace physicist called Dr Max Huber, had used sea kelp to help his badly burned skin. He fermented the kelp to produce a broth and this Miracle Broth™ forms the basis of all the Crème de la Mer products today. Sandy invited me to have a complimentary Mini Facial to experience the properties and effects of the products and assured me that I would not be pressured to purchase. A real treat and education followed and although my skin is testament to neglect I did really notice a glow and incredible softness straight away! Sandy explained how to get the maximum benefit from the various creams and lotions and how they were to be applied and she


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Personal Stylist Lisa suggests garments to try Clinique make-up trial

Crème de la Mer Mini Facial helpfully wrote the routine down and supplied me with samples to try at home. More complex treatments can be performed in dedicated treatment rooms at the store. Booking is recommended especially at peak times. My next stop was the Clinique area and here I was offered a free make up trial. Again, the Clinique consultant talked me through all the products and the make up being used and I was soon transformed with a subtle, natural look - ideal for a spot of clothes shopping. I was given a list of what had been applied, so I would know what to buy to achieve the look myself. Feeling more glamorous I made my way upstairs to the Fashion floor. Although all staff, or ‘Partners’, are there to offer advice, John Lewis offers a Personal Styling service

at Wycombe. There are three levels of service: ‘Style Express’ is a free 60 minute Ready to shop! session to help with perhaps an interview or special occasion outfit. The ‘Style Experience’ is a two hour complimentary session and this is perfect to put together a new season wardrobe. The ‘Style Profile’ is a more in depth 60 minute service which considers colour analysis and lifestyle and has a charge, redeemable against purchases. It is recommended to book with a Personal Stylist but there was time available and this was time well spent. I was able to try colours and styles that I would not normally have

Gerard Darel black trousers £140 Reiss Springsteen silk blouse £120

Gerard Darel Jacket Kin by John Lewis Culottes £69 Reiss floral springsteen blouse £110 picked out. This was a fun session and my stylist, Lisa, was able to advise and suggest

different looks with no pressure to buy! Lingerie fitting is also available. Damsel in a Dress This too is a blouse £89.00 complimentary Reiss scarf £49 service that can take Kin by John Lewis Culottes £69 as long as you need. The fitters are trained to measure and advise for maternity, nursing and mastectomy bras too. Lisa suggested looks which I may not have

selected myself and was very knowledgeable about the sizing and cut of different labels, which can vary considerably, so knew which designs would fit and suit my shape. Pastels dominate the fashion floor this season, not what I would choose normally, but I tried some different colours and my Personal Stylist was objective and honest and encouraging. If you book in for the ‘Style Profile’ consultation you get to take away a colour pallet which gives a guide to the hues you should choose. The Styling area is lovely and the fitting area roomy and private. There is flattering lighting too, which is not always the case in changing areas! Feeling pampered and better informed about the current trends, colours and styles I now had more confidence to shop. Many of us are now having to follow a tight budget so there is little room for fashion ‘faux pas’. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time at John Lewis, the styling was a fun and informative experience and all I require now is a pay rise (hint to editor) as I would like to replace all of my wardrobe! l John Lewis, Holmers Farm Way, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP12 4NW Tel: 01494 467936 Email: PersonalStyling_HighWycombe@ Web:

Win a gorgeous pair of Backdoor shoes and a funky laundry bag!


ed up with needing to do outside chores quickly and getting soggy socks or wet slippers? Backdoorshoes® can change all that! A kind of clog, they are durable, lightweight and have removable washable insoles. They are ideal for leaving by the backdoor and slipping on as you go out. What’s more they come in lots of different, vibrant and cheery designs and in sizes ranging from 3-13. There are Backdoorshoes® for ladies and Shedshoes for men. Invented by Stephen Avery and officially launched at BBC Gardeners World Live in 2007 the shoes have rapidly built a loyal following. Backdoorshoes® can be worn for many everyday activities, from putting out the bins to going to feed the chickens, walk the dog or potter about in the garden, to name but a few! “Once you try them you will be amazed at how comfortable they are!” says Stephen. They are a pretty cool item of footwear - Radio Two DJ Chris Evans got a pair from his wife for Christmas,

shoes would look great on storage bags for storing garden equipment, toys, tools, duvets and such things. And so there are now seven different designs of bag to choose from too. Visit www.funkylaundry. to check them out. The shoes cost £20 a pair + postage and

Backdoorshoes® and a funky laundry bag. If you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a pair of Backdoorshoes® and a bag, simply email your shoe size and shoe pattern choice, name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: What are backdoorshoes® made from? A. Expanded Foam B. Rubber C. Leather Visit to find out the answer!

so the c’lebs are already getting in on the act! Visit www. for more information, or to order a pair online. Amazingly Stephen hasn’t stopped there. Backdoorshoes® have realised the funky designs they have on their

Winner to be drawn at random from correct answers and notified by email by April 30th, 2014. packing whilst the bags retail at £6.99 plus p+p. Backdoorshoes® are kindly offering Vale Life readers the chance to win one of three prizes of a pair of

l Unit 18 Avon Trading Park, Reid Street, Christchurch , Dorset, BH23 2BT Tel: 01202 232357 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Treat her this Mother’s Day Sunday 30th March

PANDORA Aylesbury Friars Square Shopping Centre, Aylesbury, HP20 2SP 01296 428658 Be inspired at

Bohemia Bohemia


e’ve got baby lambs in the fields, snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils in the garden and glorious moments of golden sunshine streaming through the ‘April showers’ but what really heralds the changing of the seasons from Winter to Spring...? It’s White Hart Studios gorgeous new Spring fashion range of course! There’s a fabulous selection from Bohemia the Scandinavian design label. Their beautiful, distinctive and wearable clothing for today’s women is fun and fashionable, with unique, original cuts and designs, chic and sophisticated fabrics and lavish embellishments. Meanwhile Jane is very excited about a new Studio brand, Braintree Clothing. Braintree is a natural clothing company born in Sydney, Australia and now based in London. They make quality affordable garments, produced ethically and from sustainable fibres such as hemp, bamboo and organic cotton. The fabrics are good for the environment and great to wear - they call it ‘feel good fashion’. It’s colourful, casual and comfortable while being rather cool and funky too - dresses, tunics, soft knitwear, cosy jersey pieces and bamboo tops. There’s lots more too, but hurry, the early bird gets the worm and many items are available in limited numbers only. You can complete your new Spring outfit with a beautiful belt, scarf, or some jewellery and if space is an issue, have a word, Jane can probably find you a new wardrobe too!

Braintree Clothing Braintree Clothing

l White Hart Studio, 15 Churchway, Haddenham, HP17 8AB Tel: 01844 292308 Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm & Sun 11am-4pm Website:

Braintree Clothing

Braintree Clothing

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014



11a, High St Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP20 1SH Tel:

01296 423198

Jewellery designed and produced to your specifications, or choose from our extensive range of new, secondhand and antique pieces. l Diamond merchants (certified stones always available) l Antique restorations l Hand engraving

l Valuations: insurance and (carried out on the premises) l Insurance claims advisors l Complete repair service


Servicing of Rolex, Tag, Omega, Raymond Weil, Gucci etc. Batteries fitted and waterproof testing carried out on the premises. Top prices paid in cash for antique and modern jewellery, watches (especially Rolex), coins, gold, silver, platinum and scrap precious metals. Part exchange available.

11a High Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1SH

Tel: 01296 423198

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

The Bunnymen are back R

eturning with their first studio album in over four years, Echo & The Bunnymen have also announced a long awaited national UK headline tour, including a date at The O2 Academy, Oxford on Saturday, May 10th. Famed for hit singles ‘The Cutter’ and ‘The Killing Moon’, along with three Gold certified albums, Echo & The Bunnymen are one of the most seminal British rock acts in modern history. Emerging in the early 80s, their debut album ‘Crocodiles’ received immediate critical praise and continues to be listed by many as one of the greatest albums of all time. Eleven studio albums later, the band’s loyal and ever growing following is showing no signs of abating. New album ‘Meteorites’

is due for release on April 28th (429 Records) and the following tour dates will see Echo & The Bunnymen performing this new material live for the first time, along with a fine selection of their classic tracks. Support is from Black Submarine, featuring Si Jones and Nick McCabe from The Verve. Tickets are on sale now and available from: www. or by calling: 0844 811 0051 l O2 Academy, 190 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1UE Tel: 01865 813500 Book Tickets: • Online: • Tel: 0844 477 2000 (24 Hr) • In person, O2 Academy Oxford Box Office is open for ticket sales between 12pm-5.30pm Mon to Fri (No booking fee charged on cash transactions).

Animal art


pecialising in Hedgehogs, Tiggywinkles is the busiest wildlife hospital in the World today. The Haddenham animal hospital aims to treat, care for and rehabilitate the 10,000 or so injured birds and animals which are rushed to them each year, with a view to releasing them back into the wild once fully fit. From Sparrows to Red Kites, Hedgehogs to Fallow deer, all patients receive the best medical treatment available, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. With no government or Lotto funding Tiggywinkles relies entirely on donations and the generosity of supporters. Last year’s Wildlife Art Exhibition raised vital funds which were a huge help to their life-saving work: “We were very pleased with the success of last year’s exhibition,” says Tiggywinkles’ Les Stocker, “and are looking forward to seeing more amazing artwork depicting our wonderful British wildlife, by a group of fantastic artists. We hope to see you there too! Exhibition organiser Stewart Clough says: “The British Wildlife exhibition showcases

a unique collection of diverse styles from forty professional and amateur artists and is a chance to experience an array of stunning paintings, sculptures, jewellery and photography. It will be staged in the beautiful surroundings of the Tiggywinkles Visitor Centre on April 5th and 6th this year. “It has again been a great pleasure collaborating with the ‘Tiggywinkles Team’ and we are all very proud to be exhibiting such a high standard of work again this year from talented, inspiring and passionate local artists.” l Tiggywinkles, Aston Road,

Haddenham, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8AF UK Tel: 01844 292292 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014



Column: Janice Issitt ‘Making the most of it’

Vale Life : Dec/Jan 2013-14

Paint is chalk of the town


ince moving to The Vale from London I have discovered some amazing independent creative retailers, and my personal number one destination shop just happens to share a similar name to my column, a total coincidence I assure you. Making The Best on Bridge Street in Leighton Buzzard stocks supplies for the making of a huge variety of hobbies. I have never found a shop like this before they have equipment for making soap, candles, homebrew, wine, lampshades, beer and also Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and combine all this with beautiful handmade giftware and examples of how the finished product will look! The great thing about buying from here is the essential expert advice - very welcome if starting a project for the first time - plus added extras you won’t find online such as the free apple pressing day at the end of summer. Owner Patricia runs classes on using Chalk Paint and her shop is full of beautifully painted furniture.

Janice Issitt

my signature clashing colour style, influenced by my foreign travels. With Chalk Paint you don’t have to prepare your piece with sanding or priming as it adheres to any surface and can be sealed with waxes. I’ve even painted the underside of my bath and the wall behind to give my bathroom a totally unique look! At Making The Best you will see examples of how the paint looks layered, distressed, crackled, washed and so on. On feature walls the paint has a soft velvety texture and its density is such that pressing but the cider has yet to you can paint over with be sampled. Making a different colour Apple pressing at The Best supplied the without it showing Making The Best bottles and fermenting through. equipment and I soon I can also highly hope to report back on recommend the how my first efforts at lampshade kits at brewing turned out. Making The Best. I l Read Janice’s have made several blog at: http:// using vintage fabrics janiceissittlifestyle. when I couldn’t find an where original shade for an she posts photo tutorials antique base. about things to make Last summer I did and lovely pictures of life in The Vale. take my apples for

Making the most of it

Janice’s bath painted in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint If you haven’t heard of Chalk Paint before and you like to personalise your interiors or upcycle, then you must investigate this revolutionary product. The maker of this paint, Annie Sloan, recently photographed my home for her next book. She was interested in the way I’ve used her decorative paint and


MAKING THE BEST 11 Bridge Street, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 1AH

Making The Best "A passion for making" - from our beautiful premises in Leighton Buzzard, we offer unique, stylish pieces of 'upcycled' painted furniture, Annie Sloan's wonderful Chalk Paint™, beer & wine making & a lot more…

Making The Best 11 Bridge Street Leighton Buzzard Bedfordshire Lu7 4th





! 18

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


¥ Chalk Paint™ &

¥ Candles & candle

¥ Chalk Paint™

¥ Interiors ¥ Wine, beer & cider

accessories by Annie Sloan workshops

¥ Painted furniture ¥ Soap & soap




making kits & equipment

¥ Lamp shade kits ¥ Cards & gifts

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014



Column: Sally Turner‘Fascinating finds’

French home holds the key 18th Century gilt chatelaine c. 1780


a n D Re W Le g ge T T






chatelaine is a decorative belt hook or clasp worn at the waist with a series of chains suspended from it. Each chain is mounted with a useful household appendage such as scissors, thimble, watch, key, vinaigrette, household seal, pencil and aide memoire... The one pictured left was brought into my Wendover shop by a customer and is made of gilt - metal coated with gold leaf or gold paint. It was crafted around 1780 and today might fetch around £900 at auction if there were chatelaine collectors about! The name chatelaine comes from the French word for a woman who owns or controls a large house or chateau - the ‘lady of the castle’. A lady’s clothing wasn’t designed with pockets in these far off days and so a form of functional jewellery evolved which is really the predecessor of the modern handbag. Chatelaines only suffered

by Trollbeads

a loss of popularity when women started to work away from their homes, around the start of the 20th century. The prolonged usefulness has caused it to appear in a lot of different styles, following fashions through the ages. Originally a belt hook from which the internal keys of the castle were suspended, the chatelaine gradually evolved until several chains were suspended from it. Men wore chatelaines too from which to hang their watches seals, small knives and writing implements. Metal chatelaines appear as early as Anglo-Saxon times, but the majority date from the 18th or 19th centuries when housekeepers would often wear one. Some were still made after the First World War for nurses to carry their watches and keys on. Some modern day seamstresses still like to use them for practical reasons.

Sally Turner

Fascinating finds l Sally Turner is an antiques expert with many years of experience. She buys and sells antiques and jewellery at her shop in Wendover. She is an expert in diamonds and precious stones and offers services including: cleaning and repairs of furniture, jewellery, antiques, clocks, oil paintings, enamel and porcelain, remodelling of jewellery and much more... l Sally Turner Antiques, Hogarth House, High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU Tel: 01296 624402 Open 10am-5pm Mon-Sat (closed Wed and Sun)


Expert fitting into awkward spaces sssincluding under sloping ceilings Call for a brochure or to arrange a sssfree no obligation survey 01525 854142

Fine Jewellers Cambridge Street ▪ Aylesbury ▪ 01296 482963


our Georgini range this Spring Prices start from £29.00

for information on our jewellery ranges and services visit

Quality 20


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Here come the Muddy Awards 2014!!

Flippin’ Nora, they’re back! It’s been a year since the Muddy Stilettos Awards first teetered into existence and I’m delighted to say that in 2014 they’re bigger, better and more boisterous than ever...


originally conceived the Awards because I was constantly coming across brilliant independent businesses that were finding it hard to gain publicity and the recognition they deserved. I suspected that, given a chance, people wanted to give their most-loved local indie businesses a pat on the back - and more than 15,000 votes later, it turns out that hunch was right! So this year I’m hoping (please, please, please) that even more of you will get behind the indie-loving Muddy Awards and sock it to the high street chain stores throughout Oxon & Bucks. There are six new Categories this year and a total of 25 Categories. Winners will each receive a unique Muddy Stilettos Awards rosette and certificate, trophy, plus assistance to gain press coverage in the regional media. And to enter it costs… er, NOTHING! So frankly it’s a no-brainer to get involved. How to vote Much of the content on Muddy Stilettos is inspired by recommendations from readers, friends and the people I meet out-and-about, so the initial nominations come from YOU! You can vote for others (or yourselves) by registering at: and

Women’s fashion boutique Men’s fashion boutique l Children’s shop l Boutique hotel l Large hotel l Casual dining l Restaurant l Fine dining l Destination pub l Bar l Café l Deli l Local producer l Interiors store l Gift shop l Florist l Fitness instructor l Pilates/yoga studio l Hairdressing salon l Day Spa l Fitness club l Alternative therapy centre l Beauty salon l Family attraction l Online retailer l l

Hero Brown is Muddy Stilettos following the simple instructions on the blog from March 10. I’ll quality check after the first round of nominations (just to make sure no fast-food joint or rag-n-bone shop has slipped in under the radar), then a final round of voting will begin. The winners will be announced on May 23, after which I’ll crawl into a warm bed in a dark room and sleep until June. So please get behind the Awards, and vote for the shops, services, people or businesses you truly can’t do without!

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Stoke Mandeville’s Belmore Centre celebrates 15 years in its home at The Ranch House on Lower Road this year - a relaxed and welcoming haven where a team of professional therapists offer an extensive range of impressive health and beauty treatments and therapies...


fter such a long, grey winter most of us feel the need for a lift, so I took myself off to Stoke Mandeville’s Belmore Centre to get just that, in the form of LVL Lashes and a CACI Non-Surgical Facelift. Driving the B4443 towards Aylesbury you might notice a low, brick-built building fronted by a huge car park, but it’s unlikely you’d guess what goes on within. Behind the unassuming exterior The Belmore Centre is a constantly evolving source of the latest health and beauty treatments and probably offers the most comprehensive range of therapies under one roof in the whole of the Home Counties. Owner Caron Vetter, started in the beauty business some thirty years ago. She completed a beauty course at Aylesbury College and worked from home initially, before setting up a beauty salon in 1988, at the now closed Belmore Hotel on the Old Risborough Road, where she introduced complementary therapies and set up a flotation tank. Caron taught beauty classes at Aylesbury College while her business grew and relocated to the current premises, which have a lot more space, in 1999. Despite a devastating fire in 2005 the centre continued to develop while Caron stretched herself, learning new skills and researching innovative treatments and products. The centre now has four beauty therapy rooms, three rooms used by visiting practitioners, a large waiting area and a Fitness Studio run by Cat Booker Fitness and Caron has built a dedicated, friendly and helpful team of fully trained and insured beauty and complementary therapists. Five years ago she launched a


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Caron Vetter second centre, Whitethorn Fields Mediclinic, which specialises in aesthetic and anti-ageing treatments, cosmetic surgery and high-tech nonsurgical procedures. Caron’s stepson James joined her at Belmore in 2009 and now manages the centre: “We aim to cater for all aspects of health and beauty and a wide range of complementary therapies,” says James. “We keep an open mind

with regard to new treatments, so we are often one of the first to introduce new healing or relaxation techniques.” “We try to offer a complete range of services,” says Caron, “from fitness activities to hairdressing; beauty treatments such as: waxing, manicures, spray tanning, eyebrows and lashes and luxurious relaxation and indulgence therapies such as: aromatherapy massage, facials, manicures and pedicures. We also offer a wide range of complementary health therapies from Acupuncture and Aromatherapy to Reiki and Reflexology and a variety of antiageing treatments.” The centre’s website has a comprehensive list of what is on offer and descriptions of what each entails ( “We have a free consultation service for prospective clients who have issues they’d like help with but aren’t sure which treatments might be of benefit,” says James. “Our

Special offers for Mother’s Day


ith Mothering Sunday in mind The Belmore Centre has some great offers available from now until the end of April. A voucher for a treatment or therapy makes a great gift, especially for a mum who might not always put herself first. You can save £9.50 when you buy a Mini Facial and Nail File and Varnish (only £35) and save £8 when you buy a Belmore Deluxe Facial, which combines a Full Clarins Prescription Facial with a combination Massage - a truly luxurious treat for only £50. Save £9 on a Manicure and Clarins Prescription,

Microderm or CACI Facial (only £65). Also buy two of the same treatments together and get 50% off the second treatment! See www.belmorecentre. for the full range of treatments and therapies available, pop in, or call: 01296 612361 for a brochure.

therapists will cross refer if they think an alternative treatment would be of help and we have the option of additional procedures available at our sister facility, Whitethorn Fields Mediclinic which offers a whole range of cosmetic and anti-aging treatments.” “We want people to look better and feel better,” says Caron. “We pride ourselves on developing new concepts and ideas in health and skin care and making a difference to people’s lives. We are fortunate in that we are well respected and people know they can trust our judgement and expertise when it comes to researching and introducing new treatments.” It’s not just about looking for the next exciting development though, Caron and James are careful to be aware of their clients needs and have noticed a demand for more instant beauty treatments. “The flotation tank is going,” says Caron, “but in its place, come April, we will have Belmore Express, a double treatment room dedicated to express beauty treatments, from St Tropez spray tans to manicures, waxing to pedicures, lashes to brows and mini-facials. It will give the option of walking in and being treated during busy times without the fuss of pre-booking. “Reality TV shows such as Made in Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex have really boosted the demand for tanning, lashes and nail treatments,” says Caron “Our new Express Beauty service will offer these kinds of treatments, ideal before a party, big event or night out. We’ll also have a retail section stocking false eyelashes and accessories.” The Belmore Centre has already introduced several new treatments this year, including: Pumpkin Peels,

Amanda Trott

l Column:

LVL Lashes

CACI facial

Applying shields

Curling lashes around silicon shield Applying ‘perming’ lotion

Applying tint

CACI facial HD Brows, Shellac Nails, Millie Mackintosh lashes, Nail Art by Emma Williams and of course my choices for a trial - CACI Facials and LVL Lashes! LVL Lashes: LVL as in LVL Lashes, stands for Length, Volume and Lift which it adds to your natural lashes, resulting in a stunning wideeyed look! It’s described as a low maintenance treatment, takes an hour and lasts for up to six weeks. The LVL lash lift enhances your natural lashes by straightening rather than curling them to create the illusion of longer, more voluminous lashes, similar to the effect created by eyelash curlers. Shereen, my therapist, gently

cleansed my eyelashes before lightly sticking an adhesive shield over the lower lashes to protect them and prevent them being curled up into my eyes during the procedure. She then placed a silicone shield along my upper lash line - she suggested the largest size of three, as I have naturally long lashes - and using a product similar to a perming lotion, she swept my lashes up onto the shield and left them to process for a few minutes before wiping away the solution and applying a neutraliser to ‘fix’ the lashes into place. Lastly she applied an eyelash tint to give a dark and glossy finish. The result was spectacular! I looked as though I’d been given a set of false lashes! The treatment takes less than an hour, costs £45

LVL Lashes - before

LVL Lashes - after

and the results can last up to 6 weeks, leaving you with lashes that give your eyes an instant eye lift from the moment you wake up. I’ve since found that I’m not needing to use mascara quite so much, which is a bonus, but I did decide to buy some of LVL’s Eyelash Serum to help keep my lashes moisturised and separated and is worth buying. CACI Non-Surgical Facelift: My next ‘lifting’ treatment - a CACI Non Surgical Facelift, was carried out by Lauren. CACI stands for Computer Aided Cosmetology Instrument and is a system used for non-surgical facelifts. The system harnesses waveforms and frequencies which work alongside the natural bioelectrical field of the body by emitting electrical impulses and a number of signals which are designed to encourage better muscle tone and promote healthier skin tissue. Designed as a course of treatments, the facials work over time to retrain muscles and promises impressive long term results. Firstly Lauren cleansed my skin and then placed two probes around each muscle group sending electric magnetic frequencies to make them tauter and encourage them to

become more elastic. She then used a wand like handset to plump out deeper wrinkles. This felt slightly odd but not at all painful and really quite relaxing. Although CACI is not a relaxing facial in the traditional sense, I was left feeling rested and my skin looked plumper, more lifted and quite radiant even after this first, single treatment. For best results, Lauren suggested a series of 10 treatments - starting with three a week for the first two weeks ideally. The facials cost £47 each or £420 for a course of ten (a saving of £50 or one treatment free). Of course everyone is different but the therapists at the Belmore Centre will advise you on the best number of treatments to achieve your desired effect.

l The Belmore Centre, Lower Road, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 9DR. Telephone: 01296 612361 Email: Website : Facebook: BelmoreCentre Twitter: @BelmoreCentre Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


ED POST ED POST n into salon for an #ExpressColor service! ED POST

n into salon for an #ExpressColor service! Express Colour is our new superfast colour service In less than an hour you can have your roots done, highlights added or grey touched up and then choose to dry and style yourself at our Blast Bar (free) or have a blow dry from one of our stylists (additional charge).

n into salon for an #ExpressColor service! Root Rage £15 Glossy Locks £25 Brighter Lights £20 Colour Camo £15 Creative Colour £25

Quick fix root touch up Fast colour gloss Six face framing highlights Discrete backwash service to hide those greys Colour trends

if you have been into salon” NB New clients must have an allergy alert test 48 hours prior to any colour service

Providing the ultimate salon experience Eclipse Hair Design, 56 North Street, Thame, OX9 3BH Tel: 01844 260062 Web: Email: Follow us on Twitter: @eclipsethame and Facebook Eclipse Hair Design

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Smooth out the Lines of Time Introducing our brand new

eTwo machine

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Reverse the Signs of Aging without Downtime Reverse the signs of aging and achieve a more youthful appearance without downtime. eTwo is the first and only technology that uses combined energies to effectively stimulate collagen production and improve your overall skin quality in areas that are most telling when it comes to age, such as the eyes, brow lines, cheeks and around the neck.


After 3 treatments

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l Column: Katy Butler - mix96

at Body & Soul

Sunbed Course Offer Help beat the winter blues or start your pre holiday tan with our amazing offer.

Mother’s Day Special Offers! Luxury Shellac or OPI manicure for only £27

Buy any sunbed course and a bottle of cream and get 15% off the total price.

10% off selected Elemis products and beautiful product bundles especially for Mother’s Day! 10% off all Gift Vouchers*


New O colours now in

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Body and Soul, 59 Westmorland Avenue, Aylesbury HP21 7HS Tel: 01296 434216

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Nutritional Therapy

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New Saturday morning Teen Clinic: £30 for 1 hour session l Boost your energy l Lower ‘bad’cholesterol/blood pressure l Lose weight without starving l Brighten your skin, hair and nails l Take charge of your health l Help your child deal with

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Thame Therapy Clinic Complementary Health Therapies from Experienced Practitioners 23 Upper High Street, Thame, OX9 3EX Tel: 01844 215555

Mix96 Breakfast DJ Katy Butler shares a little of her life in local radio...


s I sit here with excited butterflies in my tummy, I take a quick look at the countdown app on my mobile - yup, still the same number of weeks and days left to go as there were this morning! It’s been a long time coming and I can’t quite believe that I’m getting married in just a few weeks time. From choosing where to say ‘I do’ and ‘me too’ down to the wedding breakfast dessert (that’ll be Eton Mess then, Adam’s favourite) it’s been so much fun (OK, more stressful than fun, let’s be honest) but I really can’t wait to see my husband-to-be’s face when I walk down the aisle on 1st May. On the 12th February however, my attention was turned to someone else who is the same age as me, has the same dreams, but whose life has taken a different turn. On the breakfast show, we were introduced to Marria Nelms, from Aylesbury who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has just months to live. We shared her story on air and told how the one thing she dreams of, is marrying her love, Steve. To have a day which is ‘cancer-free,’ when no one is thinking about her illness, but are all smiling and there together just to celebrate her marriage. As we listened to Marria’s interview, I wanted to reach out to her and make all her dreams come true. She and her fiancé, more than anyone, deserved to have their special day but financially she told us they couldn’t, because all their savings were going towards ensuring she had the perfect goodbye, at her funeral. It was heart-breaking to listen to and with tears in my eyes I was, for once, lost for words, stunned. As Darren and I finished reflecting on the story on air, we sat in the studio, uncharacteristically quiet. And

Marria and Steve then something kind of magical happened. The phone rang. And rang. And rang... At first it was just the one caller, in between sobs, offering to stitch Marria and her partner a keepsake of the date they got married, should it happen and then, it went a little crazy… By 9am, listeners across Aylesbury Vale and beyond had come together with offers of flowers, rings, catering, a venue, oh and of course that all important dress, complete with tiara, veil, shoes and more! The list went on, it was truly wonderful. Within 60 minutes, Marria’s dream wedding had taken shape before us and she and her partner were unaware. It was truly magnificent. A day I’ll always be proud of, knowing the power of radio was able to make a real difference to someone’s life. Later we caught up with Steve, while Marria was resting. He was absolutely overwhelmed and just couldn’t believe the generosity and kindness of the listeners. It was a spine-tingling moment - their wedding was actually going to happen! And so the story is now in the hands of Marria’s kind and loving family who I understand are working towards the 2nd April as the big day. From me and everyone who heard and was affected by her story, we hope you have just an incredible day, the day you both truly deserve and that Marria, you’ll be the happiest girl in the world. Vale Life : Feb/Mar Mar/Apr 2014


red swimm ructu ing , st n le u

r children up s fo to on te ss


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Learning to swim is a good idea for anyone - it can save your life and the younger you learn the better, the problem these days is finding local lessons that aren’t totallyFind booked up... a class near you... n


e all know how important learning to swim is - it’s a real life-saving skill. As with most things, the earlier you start learning, the easier it is, so taking your baby to swimming lessons not only makes good sense, but is a whole lot of fun. Join the local Swimkidz course and you’ll also be able to take part in an underwater photo session! Swimkidz is affiliated to the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) and Swimming Teachers Association (STA) and runs swimming classes for babies and children from three months to 10-years-old. Owner of the local Swimkidz school, is instructor Tracey Paterson who grew up in Thame and went to Lord Williams’s School. She currently runs a team of three teachers and three poolside helpers and offers lessons at three local pools. The teachers are all fully trained and most are also parents, so know how to communicate with youngsters. “I am teaching at Reflexions Health Club, Aylesbury, at The Oxfordshire Belfry Hotel, near Thame and have recently started giving lessons at the former John Colet School pool in Wendover,” says Tracey. “The Wendover pool was facing closure as John Colet School didn’t have the funds to keep it going. A local group, the Wendover Swimming Association took it over and has been running it as a community pool. It is now to be run by Wendover Swimming CIO on a not for profit basis for the benefit of the community. It’s a really nice 25m pool, which is a good size for the more advanced swimmers as well. “I love teaching children to swim, it’s the most amazing job ever! It’s brilliant seeing toddlers at the age of 18 months swimming on their woggles unaided, or children at the age of two swimming between five and ten metres on their own! The children that start early definitely have more confidence. “In our baby programme we introduce lifesaving skills right from the beginning, such as: turning around to hold on to the side, back floating and submersions. Parents get into the pool with their babies and toddlers at first. Later they will start to sit out for periods to get the child used to being on their own. They


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014 Underwater fun at Swimkidz 0118 959 7874 | 07889 905678

Tracey Paterson and pupil would be a minimum of three years old by then though and be confident on a woggle. “We may get groups of friends from post natal classes all joining together and sometimes we can schedule a class at a time to suit them. We can show new parents how best to introduce a baby to the water and how to hold them, so they will have the confidence to take them swimming by themselves. “We teach children aged from about three weeks upwards to 10 years and we’re qualified to do underwater swimming with babies. Our classes are for small numbers, so it’s more like private lessons and the children progress very quickly. The instructors teach in the water, which is more effective and we are confident that our children progress more quickly this way. Lessons are for 30 minutes once a week. We do four ten week courses a year to coincide with the school terms. We also do some more intensive courses in the Summer holidays when a child can swim every day for four or five days. “Lessons are structured, progressive and most of all lots of fun. With the babies/ toddlers it’s getting them used to the water

and building confidence both above and below the water surface - there is lots of singing too! For older children we always end with a fun few minutes diving or picking sticks from the bottom. “A ten week course usually costs £110 but we’ve got some great introductory offers for Wendover at the moment. - there’s 20% off for those that book up over the next few weeks, so it would cost only £88, which is amazing value. “We have a great new website that is full of information on what we do and the classes in each area. At Wendover we run baby, beginner and toddler lessons every Sunday (from 10am to 11.30am) and Friday (from 11am to 12pm) and on Mondays (from 4pm to 6pm).” If you would like more information or to talk to Tracey about booking lessons contact her on the number below. For general information on Swimkidz see the website below. l Swimkidz, Tel: 07889 905678. Email: Website:


Column: Fitness Focus with Jackie Robinson

Who needs snow?! N ordic Walking is a superb way to get fit and enjoy the countryside. Originally a summer training regime for cross-country skiers, it is now one of the fastest growing forms of exercise in the UK. So why Nordic walk? Firstly it harnesses the power of the upper body which normal walking does not, a little like a cross-trainer in the outdoors, working the legs and arms at the same time. Secondly, the poles propel you forward, which increases your speed and in turn burns more calories, improving your overall fitness levels. As a bonus, you also work the core. The special technique taught by Nordic Walking trained instructors, will ensure that you are engaging those important core muscles, especially the back and abdominals. Unlike walking with hiking poles, you plant the poles behind you rather than in front, acting as a lever to give you a longer and more physical stride, which

is why it is one of the best cardiovascular and toning exercises there is, using 90% of your major muscle groups, burning calories, and in turn helping weight loss. We have also seen huge benefits in rehabilitation, as walking with Nordic Poles has minimal impact on the joints, corrects any posture issues, and has really helped people with knee and back problems. It is

also a cardiovascular workout, promoting a stronger heart. It has been particularly popular with ex runners who may have experienced joint problems. All abilities and ages can get involved with Nordic Walking, as walks can be tailored to suit anybody: short gentle walks, hilly faster paced walks, interval training. Having the Chilterns on our doorstep gives us so many different terrains and gradients it is impossible not to find a walk to suit you. Getting the added bonus of all the benefits of exercising outdoors as well and improving our mental wellbeing. You also have the option of walking in a group for that extra motivation and a more social experience, or you can literally grab your poles and start the minute you step out of the front door. You can walk as frequently as you like depending on how energetic you feel.

Health & Fitness

Jackie Robinson

Nordic Walking

There are many organised Nordic walks in our local area, so to find out more about Nordic Walking, why not take a look at my JPR Fitness website: l JPR Fitness Contact Jackie: 07788 568204 Email Web:

To celebrate the arrival of Spring we have...a very special offer

Kate Walker

If you sign up to Denplan on the day of your visit you will get a discount off any necessary routine treatment (excluding crowns, bridge, dentures, cosmetic work).

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Your first check-up and hygienist visit for only £49 – usually £92 for new patients. Ring Di, Hannah or Lois on 01296 398 180 Or email us at Or come in and see us.

The service, support, professionalism and cost have always been better than expected and I would recommend them to anyone. S Bradford We couldn’t say it better ourselves!

Thai Orchid Massage and Spa Traditional Thai Massage, Swedish Massage, Aromatherapy Body Massage, foot massage, herbal hot compress, back, head & neck massage One hour Aromatherapy Full Body Massage £35 One hour Traditional Thai Massage £40

Reflexions Health & Leisure Centre

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014



Column: Fitness Focus with Helen Walker

Health & Fitness

Fitness made fun P

ole Attack provides the ultimate fitness workout for all ages, sizes and abilities,” says Helen Walker, Head Teacher and owner of Pole Attack.

Helen and her team of instructors run Pole Fitness classes around the Vale and have a dedicated dance studio at Duck Farm Court, Aylesbury. They also run courses at Thame Barns Centre and at the Espinosa Chute Centre in Berkhamsted. Helen believes it’s the fun element of Pole Fitness that keeps people turning up to classes and why so many stick with it. Add to this the fantastic fitness benefits and you can see why Pole Attack is a most motivating and addictive fitness class.

“A pole class typically involves some spins, climbs, transitions, strength work and flexibility, to ensure each major muscle group gets worked,” says Helen. “All while having fun - after all the Pole Attack slogan is ‘Fitness Made Fun’. “Pole Fitness is wonderfully versatile too. It’s good for every man and woman, regardless of shape, size, background or age and it is fun, exciting and addictive! “There are concrete, achievable goals to reach, with highly desirable rewards to keep you motivated - to climb to the top of the pole; to do a hands-free outside leg hang, to string five moves together without stopping. “Pole dancing provides you with an endless supply of attainable targets and each time you achieve a pole goal, you have something real to show for your hard work. It could be a new trick, or an impressive routine - and you might want to show it to your partner, your pole class, or simply your mirror. “Whatever it is, having attained

Diogenes is one of the UK’s finest family-friendly naturist clubs, situated in beautiful grounds on the border of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Our facilities include:  Indoor & outdoor heated pools  Sauna and plunge pool  Sports facilities inc. boule & miniten  Children’s play area & play room  Camping facilities with hook ups  Year round sports and social scene Relax, naturally - apply for a FREE trial visit!

something that you can see and share is a very powerful incentive. “Pole Attack is very sociable too - you will make loads of new friends and your self-esteem skyrockets because you feel great and you look great. “Each time you accomplish a move, you are inspired to do better “The sport is great for your whole body - thighs, butt, arms, back, shoulders - it will shape your legs, tone your stomach and work those flabby areas that are hard to target at the gym. “Pole is acknowledged to be one of the best ways to burn fat and drastically improve your cardiovascular fitness due to its interval type training. “All our Pole Attack Instructors are qualified and trained to a high standard. Safety mats are used at

Instructor Toni-Marie Jeffries each pole and there are no more than two to a pole. Small class numbers, regular workshops and certified fun levels make it a great way to tone up and keep fit.” If you like to give it a go, Pole Attack runs taster sessions, so get in touch with Helen now and book yourself in!


l Helen Walker, Pole Attack Tel: 07799 424381

Helen Walker


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Monday1:April 14th - Thursday April-17th WEEK Monday April 7th Friday April 11th WEEK Monday April 14th - Thursday April 17th A typical2:day at camp includes:

Monday April 14th - Thursday April 17th

• day Learning/ how to play and scoreand Week Long Courses Half Whole Day • Lots of fun and games • Racket skills and practice drills typical day at camp • Competitive matches...

A includes: TENNIS EASTER TENNIS EASTER • Learning how to play and score CAMPS 2014 typic•al dayof10%atfunDiscount camp2014 inclforugames des:siblings CAMPS •A Lots and

• Racket WEEK 1skills pick up untiland 4pm practice available WEEK fordrills just 1 • Early drop off from 8.30am and late

• Learning how to play and score on day April from Monday 14th 17th£5 (Tots) • Lotage. s of April fun andSingle games- Thursday • 10% Discount for siblings • Early drop off from 8.30am and late pick up • until Racket ski4pm l s and pracavailable tice dril s for just £4 per hour! • 25% Passport to leisure discount • Competitive matches. . Contact: James Woodwards

• Competitive matches £4 per Monday April 7th hour! - Friday April 11th Monday April 7th - Friday April 11th

WEEK 2 depending FromNEW £20 £85 for a whole week WEEK 2FORto2014 Monday April 14th - Thursday April 17th • 25% Passport to leisure discount

Men’s barbers, 245 Main Road, Walter’s Ash, Bucks, HP14 4HT Men’s hair: £10.50 Wash & Cut: £14 Boy’s hair: £8.50 Crew cut: £6.50 Senior Citizen: £6.50 Under 5s: £6.50 Saturdays: all cuts £12 Open Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri: 9.30am to 5pm Sat: 7.30am to 4pm, Thur & Sun: closed 30

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

A typical day at camp includes: • • • •

Learning how to play and score Lots of fun and games Racket skills and practice drills Competitive matches...

A typical day at camp includes:

• • • •

Learning how to play and score Lots of fun and games Racket skills and practice drills Competitive matches...

• 10% Discount for siblings

• Early drop off from 8.30am and late • 10% Discount for siblings Mobile: 826130 • Early drop07834 off from 8.30am and late pick up until 4pm available for just £4 per hour! pick up until 4pm available for just Email: £4 per hour!

• 10% Discount for siblings • Early drop off from 8.30am and late pick up until 4pm available for just £4 per hour!

Web: NEW FOR 2014 Tel: 07742 361711


• 25% Passport to leisure discount NEW FOR 2014 VENUE: Aylesbury Tennis Club, HP21 9NJ • 25% Passport to leisure discount

Join Spirit Health Club today and receive: A free pair of trainers and a free goody bag plus no admin charge! Initial lifestyle chat and personalised programme Unlimited use of the gym, indoor pool, sauna and steam room l All classes included in your membership: BOKWA, Zumba, Body Pump (BTS Training System Group), Spinning, Yoga, Pilates and Body Conditioning. l Complimentary use of towels l 25% off food and beverages l Up to 35% off Holiday Inn stays around the UK l Discounted Beauty treatments. l Club Physiotherapist available. l Flexible membership including: daytime, peak and corporate. l l

Our friendly team of professionals are on hand to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. All our instructors/personal trainers, are fully qualified and can offer nutritional advice.

Free Pair of Trainers!

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Spirit Health Club member, say you are a Vale Life reader and you will receive a free VIP day pass to try out all our facilities. Spirit Health Club, Holiday Inn Aylesbury, New Road, Weston Turville, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP22 5QT Telephone: 01296 734049 Email: Website: Open: Monday to Friday 6am-10pm, Saturday and Sunday 7am-10pm Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014



Column: Penny Harper ‘Thoughts of a small town girl’

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Penny Harper


few weekends ago, Mum came to stay with me. Dad called to say she was en route and right before he hung up the phone he added, “try not to kill each other”. I’d like to point out that I have never once contemplated killing my mother. Obviously, I can’t speak for Pammy; she may well have fantasised about throttling me. I’m sure that all the teenage years of door slamming, sulking and almighty strops may have taken their toll. I think mother-daughter relationships are unbelievably complex. I grew up with two younger brothers, so my Mum was the only female in my life and though I love her to bits, writing about her is actually quite tough. Essentially, she is me, or rather, I am she. I feel her with me sometimes, in the mannerisms I have inherited; when I nervously clear my throat, or when I get tiddly on half a glass of wine. Mum’s a retired primary school teacher and she just adores the littlies. She says they haven’t learnt

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and fishnets and had the best legs in the show. She used to be terrified of spiders - couldn’t even touch a picture of them - but she tolerated my brother keeping tarantulas and calmly announced she was ‘going to have a little lie down’ when ‘Vanessa’ escaped and webbed the house. She doesn’t want to move out of our family home because she’s worried about what will happen to the frogs. Happy Mother’s Day Pamela Barbara Helen Harper (née Humphrey). Mum. X


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to re-cover our settee. She has a tendency to embody the Angel of Doom. On seeing my university digs for the first time she cried, “oh, it looks just like a prison cell!” Welcome to Hull. She hates the feeling of fuzzy felt. If you don’t want her to touch things you put the He-man figure Moss Man on top of it and she can’t go near it. She is a serial furniturerearranger. Leave her alone for long enough and everything in the house changes place. She spent months embroidering a beautiful tapestry of a bear, which turned into a running joke because it looks like it only has three legs. Her general knowledge is astounding. She’s incredibly well read and would definitely win ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’, as long as the object of the game is to say ‘I was going to say that, but wasn’t 100 per cent sure’ right after the answer is given. Aged 63 she learnt to tap-dance and took to the stage in a leotard


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toSurstromming, be cynical oryum! sarcastic yet and every day is a new adventure. The reason she decided to have a baby was because one of her little kids at school was run over and killed. Despite the fact she told me her least favourite word when we were little was ‘Mum’ or rather “Muuuuuuuum” bellowed at her fifty million times a day, she was fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not perfect, and she’s the first to admit that, but I have an honest and open relationship with her that I treasure… and that my Dad obviously thinks is going to end in bloodshed. There are so many reasons I love my Mum. Here are a few: She once punched a squirrel because it bit her. She used to make amazing fancy dress costumes for the village carnival. Over the years I was a jellyfish, a flower, a clown, a belly dancer and a squaw, to name but a few. She claims she’s no good at sewing and yet taught herself how


Horsewyse CIC Easter Pony Activity Days for children aged 5-12yrs

Taking a short break or going on holiday? Your dog deserves a break too!

Ring now and book a room for your pet at

Maccabee Pets Hotel

Tues 8th/15th and Thurs 10th/17th April Lessons, hacking and fun activities including: learning Polocrosse skills, shooting & team games. Opportunity to work towards Brownies/Scouts riding badge. Suitable for unaccompanied children with & without riding experience. Call: 01844 202966 to book.

Parties at Horsewyse

A Hour and half of fun activities, including riding, kicking off with Patrick the wonder horse

Hacking every weekend 11am & 2pm

Heated Five Star Kennels with Individual Runs Up to two hours a day Playtime and Stimulation l Individual Health Check carried out twice daily l Collection and Delivery Service available l Fully Licenced and Insured l Special Diets catered for l l

Family business managed by Megan and Barry Cook Tel: 01844 202966

Horsewyse CIC is a not-for-profit company providing equine facilitated learning for children and young people with learning and behavioural difficulties.

Maccabee Pets Hotel Bar Lane, Longwick, Buckinghamshire, HP27 9RJ Tel: 01844 342016 or 07814 766982 Email:

New online Pet Store at:

We cater for: Dogs, Cats, Birds, Horses, Poultry, Small Animals & Reptiles. 106xx out of the dog house a5 1pp 2 25/10/2013 10:40 Page 1

Out of the Doghouse Dog Listening

Contact: Roselle 07989 947316 email: roselle@

Does your dog:

Do you to give your puppy or rescue dog • jump upwant • pull on the lead• bark excessively the best possible start in your home? • display nervous, obsessive or aggressive behaviour Does your dog: bicycles or livestock • have issues with food • chase joggers, • jump up • destroy carpets or furniture when left alone? • pull on the lead

Dog Listening is a simple non-confrontational method, for all bark excessively dogs,• through which you can address undesirable behaviours • display nervous, obsessive or aggressive and build a rewarding relationship with your dog. behaviour • chase joggers, bicycles or livestock • destroy carpets or furniture when left alone • have issues with food?

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


by Dee Dashwood

It’s lovely to inject a little, colour, style and imagination into our homes but we are not generally beginning with a blank canvas and unlimited budget. “Get your mood board working,” says Dee...


t’s been a long day. You are surfing the sofa engrossed in Fifty Shades of Grey… and, as you drag yourself away from the Red Room of Pain and gaze up at the wall opposite, you are suddenly brought back to reality. How long have the walls in your living room been that colour?! White is it, or Magnolia? Did you know that the human eye is capable of perceiving in the region of seven billion colours? I kid you not, yet Magnolia is the highest grossing paint colour sold in UK stores - go figure! A simple but effective solution to your ‘magnolia dilemma’ would be to use wallpaper and paint colours to create a statement wall in harmony with the magnolia covered remainder. Of course the idea of paint, wallpaper, colour match pots and swatches may bring forth mutterings from the man of the house, but needs must. A feature or statement wall is one which you have decided to highlight with wallpaper (or paint for that matter) to show off its features. By doing this you will add visual interest, style and mood to your room. However it is difficult to know which wall to choose in the first place. I suggest a wall where there are no windows or doors. It may be that you have a lovely chimney breast with alcoves either side which would work really well. Does the room have architectural features to highlight or do you wish to set off a special piece of furniture? There are so many wonderful wallpaper designs to choose from and the results can be fabulous, budget friendly and easy to achieve. Where to start? Spring is coming and there are an abundance of wonderful colours on the high street. If you look in the Spring/Summer fashion magazines the catwalk colours you see will soon be filtering onto the High Street, and into interior design. 34

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Wallpapered feature wall highlighting a stylish sideboard

Dee’s Hibiscus mood bo Take a look at these images above from this year’s Spring/Summer fashions. And now take a look at the Spring Mood Board opposite created by the lovely Tracy Nielsen at based in Thame. The mood board reflects all the Spring hues and tones you will be seeing in the latest interiors magazines A mood board is really simple and easy to create. A visit to your local interiors stores such as Peter John, Aylesbury, Cromptons Interiors, Wendover, Greens Furnishings,

Thame, or John Hall Interiors at Tring, or even to tillynilly in Thame by appointment and a browse through the swatch books would be a great starting point. Choose a couple of designs and ask for samples. With the board above, I’ve bought a sample pot of ‘Hibiscus’ paint and painted a little on the board. I’ve then attached my colour ideas and wallpaper samples to it. You can see that this is a bold look but it can be watered down using lighter variations of the shades or softer tones such as a candy floss pink or duck egg blue. I’ve taken the same approach on the


by Dee Dashwood

tillynilly mood board

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Dee’s wallpaper mood board opposite page (pic above) but covered the board with the wallpaper. You can see what you like and remove what you don’t. What’s even better is that you have not yet had to put paint on a wall! The tricky part is choosing the paint to accompany your wallpaper. Two words to remember here regarding colour are ‘advancing’ and ‘receding’. Put simply, advancing colours

Painting radiators can make them blend in



are bold and strong and will make a room appear smaller or make an architectural feature stand out. Receding colours are lighter softer colours which will make a room appear bigger. A great reference book is Choosing Colours by Kevin McCloud. A clever trick is to paint your radiator the same colour as the wall, see left, if using a soft tone as then it fades into the wall - who needs to






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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

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see a white radiator! I suggest you carry swatches for your design with you at all times - you will think you can remember what a colour looks like, but believe me, there are so many tones out there, when it comes down to selecting that perfect pistachio colour, will you really be sure the one you buy won’t be just a little too yellow!! So to recap: Buy a piece of white mount board from your local art shop. Browse wallpaper selection and choose samples - include material if you are updating your curtains. Either buy tester pots or use sample cards - remember the rule of thumb regarding colour. Place them on the board and play around - like you used to with Fuzzy Felts all those years ago! It’s child’s play and I guarantee you will have fun in the process whilst creating something really special.

al items from all

ove r

by Dee Dashwood

I’d love to see your results email or tweet me a picture! l Dee Dashwood is a creative, Berkhamsted based interior stylist and founder of Dee Dashwood Interior Style and Design the home of creative interior styling, ideas, guides and workshops. Email: Twitter: @thestylegoddess

www. the


Tel: 01296 415035


ld or

8 Duck Farm Court, Station Way, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2SQ

Be au



w Wall art w Clocks w Candles w Lamps w Mirrors w Vases w Ornaments w Homeware w Prints w w Fireplace sets w Signs w Furniture w Kitchen & Dining w Gifts w Cards w Mats w Handcrafted Fairtrade Products w 36

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Lucas Furniture. Come & get yours! Help us celebrate Easter at Lucas Furniture and collect your free Easter egg. There’ll be an Entertainer and an Egg Hunt for the children plus fantastic special offers on a huge range of our The fun furniture throughout the store.

will start on Good Friday 18th April!

Easter Opening Hours: Good Friday 10.30am – 5.00pm, Easter Saturday 9.30am – 6.00pm Easter Sunday – Closed, Easter Monday 10.30am – 5.00pm

Call 01296 486255 • • Rabans Lane, Aylesbury HP19 8RE

Affordable quality since 1898 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

With the arrival of Spring nature is waking up all around us, inspiring and delighting and in the world of interior design the natural world is this year’s big influence on colours and images...


nterior designer Trixy Gallagher of Liveluxe in Wendover’s Barn Courtyard takes a look at the new season’s movers and shakers in the world of interiors. Well Spring has finally sprung! At least the endless torrents of Winter rain have ensured luscious, verdant gardens! Indoors as well as outdoors, all things botanical have flourished, and like a well-watered lawn, this is a trend that is certain to grow and grow… Perfect for bringing the outside in, there are some really clever designs in evidence now, adorning everything from ceramics and wallpapers, to cushions and clothes… and now is the perfect time to invest, as you will gain years of pleasure from your purchases! Most notable among the design royalty is leading design house Osborne & Little, whose brand-new wallpaper and fabric botanic prints are rocking the design world and none more so than the range designed for them by the renowned Icelandic artist Kristjana S. Williams. Williams is an artist who captures exactly the spirit of the new botanics trend, with her illustrations juxtaposing strong monochrome graphic lines with the intricate beauty of butterflies & birds (see pics below and left).

Osborne & Little designs by Kristjana S. Williams 38

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Merian Palm by Timorous Beasties She says her work ‘is inspired by the starkness of Icelandic nature and the symmetry that lies in all things living.’ Les enfants terribles of the design industry - Glaswegian punk

designers Timorous Beasties, have evolved many of their jawdropping prints from living things, such as the Merian Palm, left. Their inspiration comes from ‘the exquisite beauty found in living things’ such as insects, birds, bees, beasts and foliage. The new Botanics are all about eye-popping pastels such as peaches and lavenders and any and all tones of blue! The key is to subtly use bright colours within a monochrome background, as you can see from the Williams designs for Osborne & Little. Even if green would seem the go-to choice of colour, you don’t have to shy away from colour just be clever how you use it!” Cushions and candles are a fun, inexpensive way to bring a botanical boost into your home! These gorgeous candles, right, are available from Coco Marie in Old Amersham now and are only £21 each.

w Quality w Value w Service w

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While you’re there why not treat yourself to a beautifully botanical Sky of Butterflies scarf ?! At just £39 these look great popped onto a soft voile curtain as a tieback! Instant bang-on-trend glamour!

Sky of Butterflies scarf from Coco Marie

Melitarose candles from Coco Marie

Bed linen and throws can be used to great effect, as can artworks for your walls - Mel from the A Little Bird Told Me Gallery in Wendover’s trendy Barn Courtyard, tells Continued on page 40

Handmade Traditional Sash Windows with slender glazing bars and individual slim glass units

Handmade Tiles & Natural Stone

Tiles & Natural Stone from British & European Quarries Slate Marble Limestone Handmade Terracotta & many more, available from stock Visit our Showroom & Warehouse at Fleet Marston Farm, Fleet Marston, Aylesbury, HP18 0QT See our Website at:

Herald Sash Windows incorporating Slenderpane double-glazed units

l l

Open: Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm Tel: 01296 658755 Email: Family owned business

Looks like single glazing l Slim timber glazing bars Ideal for conservation areas l Choice of glass types l Trade and retail enquiries welcome

Herald Joinery / Slenderpane Ltd, Unit 5, Thame Road Industrial Estate, Thame Road, Haddenham, Bucks, HP17 8BZ Herald Joinery: 01844 291111 Slenderpane: 01844 292779 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Continued from page 39 me that her inexpensive botanic prints, see right, are literally flying off her walls! And if this trend doesn’t rock

your boat, then do one thing - buy the most beautiful faux flowers possible and you won’t even have to water them! London Cows, who have

a lifestyle showroom in Stoke Mandeville, sell some incredibly real floral arrangements that even the least green-fingered amongst us can’t kill! The ‘Tulips in glass bowl’ here are £195 from London Cows, Stoke Mandeville:

l Trixy Gallagher owns and runs interiors and gifts shop Liveluxe in Barn Courtyard, Wendover, Bucks HP22 6ER. She is available for consultations on 07786 990537 Web: Email: LiveluxeInteriorDesign

Tulips in a glass bowl faux flowers from London Cows Botanic prints from a little bird told me gallery, Wendover

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Having your kitchen refurbished is said to be one of life’s most traumatic experiences! It’s not just the cost, the dust and the inconvenience, it’s all those decisions that need making! Unfortunately our kitchen of battered units, failing appliances and lack of space was crying out for attention...


ale Life editor Charlie Trott and his family are the proud owners of a brand new kitchen, supplied and installed by Thame-based company Ridgeway Kitchens and Interiors. Read on and share his experience.... It’s been a long time coming, as they say. We moved into our modest Thame four-bed home in 2003 and I think my wife Amanda was already imagining how much better the kitchen might look without the pink tiles and repainted cream units. The house was only 18 years old then but whether the kitchen had been renewed in that time was hard to tell. They say the kitchen is the heart of the home but with a pair of teenagers and a couple of dogs, adding to the fray, this heart was definitely having palpitations. The cupboards were overflowing, doors were loose, drawers stuck, finishes were chipped and marked and then one by one we started to lose the appliances. First the built-in microwave, then the fan oven, the fridge shelves kept breaking and the washing machine was playing up - the kitchen was shutting down basically - major heart surgery was required. As editor of Vale Life I visit many of the local kitchen firms on a regular basis and moaning to Ridgeway Kitchens’ senior designer Wayne about my plight, the idea came up that being a big fan of the magazine he could endeavour to organise the kind of kitchen that would look great in a magazine article but at a price I could afford! At this point I had no idea how much a new kitchen would cost, or how much I could afford... Our kitchen wasn’t that big - about 4m x 3m and had doors on two walls and a window on another, so the layout options were limited. I guessed new units wouldn’t be too costly as there was a limit to what we could cram in! Wayne suggested I take my wife Amanda up to the impressive Ridgeway showrooms by the Farol yard on Rycote Lane, and see what style of units and worktops we preferred and he would pop round to our house, measure up and discuss ideas for a new layout. 42

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

The old kitchen just had to


Awaiting the ‘knock-through’!

It all sounded simple enough until Amanda decided that what we really needed was a modern kitchen-diner style room. She felt this was a great opportunity to knock through the kitchen wall into our dining room and create one big airy room. (I later found out she felt so passionately about this that when the building work started she insisted on hammering through herself!) Wayne was brilliant - full of ideas and enthusiasm - and we soon decided on a basic layout which would suit us and make best use of the space available. He then went back to his office to draw up more detailed plans for us on his computer. At the showroom Amanda and I discussed and debated and eventually agreed on colours and finishes for worktops, units and flooring.

Above: The old kitchen before being stripped out. Left: The old dining room before the left hand wall is partially demolished to join dining room and kitchen. Below: The door into the hallway, pictured would be blocked up, so units could be fixed to the right hand wall. The wall straight ahead would be demolished, to join kitchen with dining room.

Ridgeway offer a choice of luxury, modern, German-built, Hacker kitchens, which are very stylish and not only look great but are known for their functionality and durability, or high quality, bespoke, English kitchens by Prentice. We decided on modern German units with

rs Carl and kitchen Ridgeway fitipteou old Graham stre the tpathrtie tion wall and remov

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

3-D computer impression of units

Amanda helping to demolish the wall and knock through from kitchen to diner Initial plan showing placement of units and room layout.

‘Rio’ doors in a Magnolia, highgloss finish, to create a feeling of light and space, teamed with light oak effect end panels and a midgrey ‘Gris Expo’ Silestone worktop with a satin finish. Wayne was then able to create 3-D CAD images in appropriate colours to give us an idea of how our plans might actually look. It was all starting to get quite

3-D computer impression of units exciting! Initial costings seemed very reasonable and because Ridgeway have their own multiskilled installation team they were able to cost the basic building work and finishing required if we knocked through, which would mean plastering walls and ceiling, new flooring and new lighting.

Ridgeway’s detailed plans incorporated the latest must-haves, including soft close drawers, clever corner units, under sink bin/caddy drawers and a full height larder cupboard - items I didn’t know I wanted but with hindsight realise I wouldn’t want to be without! So far, so good. Wayne would

project manage the whole process for us if we wished to go ahead and the whole job could finished in three weeks... Read our May/June edition to see what happened! l Ridgeway Kitchens and Interiors Office and Showroom, Rycote Lane, Milton Common, Oxfordshire, OX9 2NZ Tel: 01844 279900

Your kitchen. Your space. Your way.

Ridgeway designs English bespoke kitchens to match your wish list then installs them with care and precision. We offer a complete service, from free initial CAD designs to project management and final sign-off. Our team of in-house, IKBBI-registered fitters, builders, plumbers and electricians work to extremely high standards, giving you quality at a fair price. For traditional or modern kitchens, German engineered kitchens, worktops, Karndean flooring, taps and top brand appliances, come and see us.

Visit our showroom near Thame. Call 01844 279900 to make an appointment. Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


from design to build The Loggia Conservatory Modern Glass Extensions Cross Over Extensions Traditional Conservatories

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Sharp-eyed Thamensians may have noticed a recent bustle of activity on the Upper High Street. The AGA Shop has had a complete refurb and is looking rather gorgeous with a fabulous range of new, brightly coloured cookers and a great selection of very stylish kitchen accessories...


he history of the AGA cooker is a story of British manufacturing success that stretches back to 1922. The cookers are still made at the company’s Shropshire foundry in Coalbrookdale, which celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2009. The foundry is now a World Heritage Site, recognised as the first place in the world where iron ore was smelted with coke instead of charcoal - the innovation that ignited the Industrial Revolution and literally changed the world! The modern AGA contains state-of-theart technology and is subject to rigorous quality controls and the latest environmental standards, but the main body is made in exactly the same way as it has always been - molten iron poured into moulds. It’s this technique that gives the castings their characteristic surface - each one is unique - and sets the AGA apart from mass-produced alternatives. While most cookers are spray painted in minutes, the AGA cooker’s multiple protective coats of gleaming vitreous enamel take three days to apply. This enamelling helps ensure the working life of an AGA cooker is measured not in years but in decades. AGA cookers have moved with the times and many modern versions are electric with over half now being sold with a standard 13amp household plug. An AGA cooker used to be on all the time but the new electric AGA Total Control series cookers can be turned on and off at the touch of a button and cost from as little as £5* a week to run. Using the control panel, the hotplates and ovens (roasting, baking and simmering ovens only) can be individually controlled and turned on manually when needed. It can also be controlled remotely via a smartphone or PC. The Thame AGA shop showcases a comprehensive collection of AGA range cookers to suit every home and lifestyle, as well as selected refrigeration products and a fabulous collection of high performance, superior cookware in ‘the AGA Cookshop’. Julie and her friendly, knowledgeable AGA

The AGA Shop at Thame team will be happy to talk you through the products and live, working ranges, now on show. Regular cooking demonstrations are held at the showroom for all levels of AGA enthusiast, to show how to get the most from an AGA heat storage cooker and have the chance to sample some delicious food. “The new electric AGA cookers have been a roaring success,” says Julie. “Modern homes are better insulated and much warmer now, so you don’t need an AGA to be on all the time. People want to be able to flick a switch and have instant heat and then turn it off again when not in use, to economise on fuel. “It can be nice and cosy to leave them on in the winter of course but it’s good to have the choice. Our showroom has now been fitted with the new electric AGAs and they are all live, so can be demonstrated. “We also have a selection of AGA conventional electric cookers - AGA lookalikes with a gas or ceramic hob and electric ovens and a Mercury domestic range cooker.” AGA produce a refridgeration range, including a very smart and functional ‘American style’ fridge over freezer drawers, also on show at Thame and you can see AGA hoods and extractors and examples of their wood burning stoves too. The AGA cooker range starts with a two oven version for £4,995 and goes up to a five oven version for around £12,000. They all

*typical week of meals. Independently tested by GASTEC

sport that classic AGA look and are available in some 13 different colours. Thame’s official re-opening takes place the week of March 24th when there will be a special 20% discount offer to celebrate! l AGA Shop, 10 Upper High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3ER Tel: 01844 214214 Fax: 01844 212090 Email: Web: Open: Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm

Demonstrations at Thame AGA Shop l AGA Does Chinese with Pam Cruse Pam will take you through a menu of her tried and tested Chinese dishes. March 27th, 2014. Price: £30

Introduction to AGA Cooking A 90 minute demonstration of the AGA and how to roast, steam, stir-fry, bake and toast. The perfect demonstration for those considering an AGA. April 3rd, 2014. Price: £15 l

AGA Easter Baking with Marcia Poole Hot cross buns, simnel cake and an other delightful dishes for your Easter guests. Recipe pack included. April 9th, 2014. 11:30am. Price: £30* (*Book 4 Baking series and get one free). l

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


l Column ‘In the Garden’ with

Naomi MacKay

Create a splash of colour


he weather has been dreary recently, but thinking about all the colourful baskets and containers that I am planning for the garden and outside the front of the house is quite a cheering thought. If you have somewhere to keep containers in a greenhouse or conservatory, you can start some off now, which might make you feel a bit better even if the sky outside is still grey. Small plug plants for summer container and basket plants should be available about now in garden centres - even some supermarkets such as Aldi have a selection. The sort of plants you’ll find include begonias and pelargoniums, lobelia, bacopa and fuschia. Think about whether you want to colour theme your pots: I tend to swap from year to year - one year I will go for delicate pastels, the next for a bold combination of purples and oranges, and the next year I will have an explosion of every colour under the sun! Getting your containers off to a good start is key - it’s worth using compost made especially for

Set up a potting bench (like this one from Aldi) to make it easier on your back when potting up baskets and containers baskets and containers as it usually includes water-absorbent granules that help to keep the soil moist, and slow-release feed that encourages good growth and flowering. Another option is to use a planting mix, such as the new Planting Magic from Gro-Sure, which includes waterstoring pockets and a range of nutrients to get plants off to a good start and then help them flower well throughout the summer. Simply

s plie Ltd sup h stry e g r o rouinery & F h isbeo Mac R n f O ng, Gard i

c Fen

throw a handful into the compost before planting. Perhaps you want to grow something that looks and tastes good in your containers. There are plenty of vegetable varieties to choose from - look out for round carrots such as ‘Rondo’ from Suttons, or for something a bit spicy how about the pepper ‘Demon Red’ from Kings Seeds. The beauty of these seeds is that they are supplied in a round disc of biodegradable paper which is easily placed in the pot - so the seeds are correctly spaced - and ideal for children to sow, or for anyone who has less mobility in their hands due to arthritis or similar conditions. Another new pepper is Pepper Lemon from Johnsons Seeds, which is a pepper from Peru that has a kick and a citrus-smoky flavour. If you want to grow tomatoes, keeping them regularly watered is vital. A new product called Duogrow places two large pots on a reservoir of water, and special feed mats ensure the water will keep the pots moist for up to two weeks. The Duogrow is available from www. for £29.

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Start now for Summer baskets like these, lined with Ecomoss, which improves water retention Maybe you fancy having a container of herbs at your kitchen door to provide you with a profusion of fresh flavours for your culinary experiments. The experts at gardening site www. suggest that if you have a preference for basil-infused Italian dishes and harbour dreams of picking your own fresh leaves as your pasta bubbles away, it’s important to bear in mind that basil is a delicate herb that’s used to warm, Mediterranean climates. They suggest opting for hardy plants that can withstand tough conditions such as parsley, mint, coriander, thyme and rosemary. (You can always grow basil in doors on a windowsill). l Naomi Mackay is a freelance journalist and publisher of a website for parents of primary school-aged boys called New for spring will be an A-Z guide to keeping boys occupied in the Easter holidays, along with a bumper competition.

Telephone: 01844 208401 Mobile: 07732 329118 Email: Website:


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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

HH Paving team laying the new showroom floor at Chiltern View Nurseries

It’s nice to be recognised, but to be one of only a handful of firms selected from hundreds of approved contractors across the country, for the quality of your work is quite an accolade...


ocally-based driveway, patio and lanscaping firm, Haydon Hill Paving, has been selected from thousands of companies nationwide to have their work displayed in the annual Bradstone catalogue. Bradstone is a leading supplier of paving, walling, edging, decorative stone and driveway products, available nationally through a number of DIY stores and builders’ merchants. They have manufactured and marketed their range of garden products and driveway materials since 1956 and produce the annual Bradstone catalogue, to show off their range. Bradstone have approved companies across the country, qualified and recommended in the use of Bradstone products of which Haydon Hill Paving is one. Bradstone check and photograph hundreds of projects but only the very best of these actually make the catalogue. Being selected is not only a great honour but shows the design, workmanship and finish is of particularly high quality. “I’m really proud to have two of our jobs featured in this year’s Bradstone catalogue,”

says Haydon Hill owner Warren Iqbal. “We try to ensure our work is of the highest standard and that often means a lot of work that you don’t see - digging out to give a firm foundation and proper drainage. “Some firms offer a quick, cheap fix, but if a driveway or paving isn’t dug out properly, the correct membrane put down and the right materials used it might look OK for a while, but it’s only a matter of time before problems arise and it needs repairing or relaying.” The pictures below are the Haydon Hill projects that made the catalogue. Left is ‘Woburn Rumbled’ cobble style paving in a ‘Fossil Buff ’ colour, featuring a rumbled finish with smooth rounded edges and a softer surface. The weathered appearance and slightly mottled look gives a pleasant, timeworn appearance to this driveway at Tring Road, Aylesbury. The right hand drive is at King Edward Avenue, Aylesbury and is also of ‘Woburn Rumbled’ paving this time in ‘Autumn’. Since we first wrote about the company three years ago, Haydon Hill Paving has had a busy time and many readers will have spotted

Bradstone Rumbled paving at Tring Road, Aylesbury

their advertising boards outside local homes. They have been involved in a number of commercial and local government projects too including the paving of Bedgrove shopping precinct and an ongoing project to create paths at Aylesbury Cemetery: “We have just finished paving a huge new 1,300m2 indoor showroom/glasshouse at Chiltern View Nurseries on Wendover Road,” says Warren. “We had a crew of 10 and prepared and paved the area in just four days, ready for the family business to relaunch as a garden centre later this year on March 29th.” HH Paving is Brett Approved, Bradstone Assured and Marshall approved and have a full Waste Carrier licence. Your installation is guaranteed and clients can be confident of a quality job - it may even appear in next year’s Bradstone catalogue! l Haydon Hill Paving Ltd, Goya Place, Haydon Hill, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP19 8SJ Tel: 01296 336641 / 07853 698168 Email: Web:

Bradstone Rumbled paving at King Edward Avenue, Aylesbury

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

47 3

Property Insight with Martin Kemp Property Services

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

55 North Street Thame Oxfordshire OX9 3BH T: 01844 260909

Property Insight

24 Temple Street Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP20 2RQ T: 01296 339935 Visit us at

Block management

Your right to manage Did you know that if you’re a leaseholder in a shared building, you have the right to a direct say in how the block is managed? That means better control over the cost and quality of your repairs and management – and better value.

If your property management company isn’t working well, you’re not alone. Luckily, you don’t have to prove they are failing in their duties to assert your right to manage. Asserting control in law You need to call on the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. It says that if half the residents with leases longer than 21 years agree to the change, and all residents and the landlord have beem invited, the process can start – although importantly, you don’t need the landlord’s consent to continue. Once you’ve asked everyone and have the support of at least 50% of residents, you have to set up a limited company that adopts the right to manage. This will be responsible for day-to-day management and maintenance, and must be registered at Companies House.

To see our properties visit 48

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Serving notice on landlords With the new company organised, you can serve notice on your landlord that you are taking on the management rights. If your landlord isn’t around you can acquire the rights by applying to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT). Expect to gain the rights in around 6 months. Once your new company has these rights, you’re free to elect the managing agent of your choice. Landlords have the right to issue a counter notice if they believe that your group does not qualify under the law, or hasn’t complied with the rules. Your company should respond within two months, letting the LVT decide. You have the right to take control, as long as you follow the guidelines. Find out more at the Leasehold Advisory Service .

Property Insight with Martin Kemp Property Services

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Richard Foster AIRPM Director Martin Kemp Property Services Associate of the Institute of Residential Property Management Robert Sims FNAEA Director Martin Kemp Property Services Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents

The case of the missing freeholder Missing freeholders mean that it’s impossible to get repairs done on your property’s communal areas – or does it? We reveal two ways you can acquire the freehold yourselves

It’s a situation to be dreaded: the roof is leaking and needs urgent repair, but you can’t find the freeholder of your building to fix it. There is a way out: taking on the freehold and running the property yourselves. Although the freeholder’s current address should be kept up to date at the Land Registry, it’s often wrong. Luckily, there are two ways that you can acquire the freehold without needing the current freeholder around. Firstly, you can use the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. Section 26 gives leaseholders the right to ‘collective enfranchisement’. Two-thirds of leaseholders apply jointly to the county court order, which transfers the freehold to them.

You’ll need to prove that you’ve tried to find the freeholder – the court might ask that the search include a newspaper advert. When the court is satisfied that the freeholder can’t be found a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decides the freehold’s value. This is paid into a special court account and held for the freeholder in their absence. The second route is to apply for an ‘acquisition order’, using the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. It’s slightly more difficult to achieve, because you have to show the court that the freeholder hasn’t complied with management obligations, but you’ll often pay less for the freehold doing it this way. Whatever your route, it’s worth finding out if you need to acquire the freehold sooner rather than later.

The two ways of dealing with missing freeholders Way #1 Two-thirds of leaseholders ask the County Court for a vesting order that transfers the freehold, showing proof that you’ve tried to find the freeholder. The price is decided by a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, who puts the money in a holding account.

Way #2 A majority of leaseholders apply for an acquisition order, with proof the freeholder has not complied with their management obligations. Riskier, since the court can refuse the order, but valuation rules mean you might pay less for the freehold.

Sales - Lettings - Block Management - Commercial Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Property Insight with Martin Kemp Property Services

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

55 North Street Thame Oxfordshire OX9 3BH T: 01844 260909

Property Insight

24 Temple Street Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP20 2RQ T: 01296 339935 Visit us at

Residential lettings

Are you an accidental landlord? Whether it’s your nest egg or a pension pot, the buy-to-let boom created nearly two million private landlords across the UK. If you’re among them, does your investment property return peak value safely and legally?

With interest rates staying low, more and more savers are investing in property. According to research by the Strategic Society Centre, buy-to-let investors are generally older, have good credit and savings. The 1.9 million in this group have an average age of 48, and are well educated, with savings and investments of around £75,000. Property outperforms savings The reasons are simple: property has been likely to outperform savings for some time, and pension pots require a dash extra to supplement them. The investors even have a new nickname: Grandlords. Research published in 2013 by Simply Business showed that the number of these older investors had risen by 33% since 2009. In fact, a survey by Auction Finance indicated that eight out of 10 landlords are relying on their buy-to-lets as an alternative to traditional pensions.

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation calculated in 2012 that pensioners need £12,000 a year to fully participate in retirement, so there is clearly a need to supplement. Following best practice The rental market is booming thanks to these investors, but they are required to follow the same best practice as any other landlord. Apart from the questions of where best to invest, what returns to expect and the legal and tax implications of buying property to let, there is also the responsibility to stick to legislation. Gas and electricity checks and tenancy deposit schemes are just some of the best known of the 100-plus regulations. So, if you’re an accidental landlord – or even a Grandlord – are you getting the most from your money? And are you keeping on the right side of regulations?

Property Insight with Martin Kemp Property Services

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Richard Foster AIRPM Director Martin Kemp Property Services Associate of the Institute of Residential Property Management Robert Sims FNAEA Director Martin Kemp Property Services Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents

Silent but deadly Carbon monoxide detectors are a legal requirement for Scottish landlords, but not English ones – even though they are responsible for tenant’s safety

All good landlords should take their responsibilities seriously when it comes to gas, but many don’t realise that carbon monoxide detectors are the simplest way to achieve truly safe tenancies for their clients. The law now requires you to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that has a new or replacement fitting, but there is no legal requirement to do so for older appliances – yet these are precisely the appliances that pose the greatest risk. It’s a landlord’s duty under the law to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues are maintained, have 12-monthly gas safety checks and provide a record to tenants, as well as keeping hold of their own record for at least two years.

We believe that the best way to stay ahead of safety is to install carbon monoxide detectors in every property. These cheap devices will provide peace of mind to you as a landlord, and guarantee that tenants are getting the best service possible. Recent news about Nest, the Google-owned home technology company that has launched the world’s first ‘intelligent’ smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, has focused attention on this danger once again. Battery-powered or wired in, there are specific guidelines available that make sure carbon monoxide detectors do their job properly.

Why Chiltern Railways is a reliable asset for the region Chiltern Railways, the franchise operating between London Marylebone, Haddenham & Thame Parkway and Aylesbury, is one of the fastest growing in the country. Between 2003 and 2012, journeys on the line grew by 78%, compared to the national average of 46%.

They’re also consistently top for punctuality. By 2016, the line will also travel from London via Oxford, with a stop at Bicester, attracting tourists and shoppers as well as commuters. It’s just another reason why the region has stayed buoyant – great news for residents and landlords.

Sales - Lettings - Block Management - Commercial Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vicki & Sam of Eclipse outside The Presidential Apartments

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

If you are taking a city break or need to stay in London for business, hotels aren’t necessarily the best option. Once the best-kept-secret of jet setters and A-listers seeking total privacy, serviced apartments generally beat the traditional hotel room on price, convenience and most importantly, size...


ocated in the heart of Kensington, The Presidential Apartments combine hotel luxury with the flexibility and convenience of a personal London pied-à-terre. Run like a hotel with 24 hour reception and concierge, the apartments are housed in a classic Victorian red brick mansion block where, in addition to the thoroughly modern interiors, guests are able to enjoy the charms of its Nineteenth Century architecture. The building is situated in a conservation area on one of the Capital’s iconic garden squares, which provides beautiful and peaceful views from many of the rooms, yet being in Zone One, in fashionable West London, the culinary and theatrical delights of the West End and the city’s shopping districts and cultural attractions are just moments away. 58 beautifully designed suites offer total comfort and relaxation, each complete with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room and entertaining area! Every apartment is luxuriously designed, with Siberian oak floors, bespoke walnut fittings and eclectic furniture. Most have double height ceilings and every bedroom is complete with indulgent Egyptian cotton sheets and orthopaedic mattresses to guarantee a perfect night’s sleep. Bathrooms feature underfloor heating and are stocked with the finest grooming products. The spacious lounge areas are ideal for relaxation, each complemented by the very best entertainment systems, including plasma screens, wifi, satellite and DVD players. Most suites have designer sofa beds for extra guests and families and there’s even personal washing and drying machines.

Presidential Apartments suite


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

The Presidential Apartments Reception staff are friendly and helpful and will take the stress out of travelling, organising flight check-ins and executive car transfers from any of London’s airports. For those who don’t wish to cook, the team can have meals delivered straight to the room from any of the nearby takeaway restaurants and provide guests with DVDs from the in-house library. On request, the concierge prepares each suite to meet with the special requirements of guests. Everything from flowers to fragrances can be arranged before arrival; the team is even happy to do a grocery shop for those wanting to cook. The black marble kitchens have everything required to create a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the dining and entertaining space is perfect for hosting an informal supper party with friends. Guests can choose either Studio rooms or full Apartments - many of which can sleep up to four people. Vale Life’s beauty columnist Amanda and colleagues from Eclipse Hair Design, Thame stayed in the Presidential Apartments while attending a hair show at Olympia: “We chose the apartments because of their central location,” says Amanda, “which was within easy walking distance of the tube station and several shops and restaurants. The apartment, although as plush as a hotel, gave us more flexible accommodation - we could cater for ourselves and weren’t confined to hotel

breakfast times etc. Being four girls sharing, the set up of two sofa beds, one single and one double, (both extremely comfortable), along with the large double bed worked well for us. The bathroom was well stocked with toiletries and the kitchen well equipped with a hob, oven, dishwasher and kettle so we could easily cater for ourselves. The staff were extremely helpful and very friendly too. Each day we were provided with fresh towels and the sofa beds were folded away and then reopened and made for us in the evening. My only criticism was that the room was very hot and we were unable to lower the temperature easily. Also there was a lack of electrical sockets, but then being hairdressers we did have a lot of electrical equipment! We’d all happily stay in the Presidential Apartments again though.” Three times winner of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award, Presidential Apartments can cater for short or long term stays and provide guests with their very own city crash-pad from just £170 per night. Apartments are available for check in from 2pm and check out is by 12noon. l Presidential Apartments, 6-12 Barkston Gardens, Kensington, London, SW5 0EN Tel: 0207 373 4040 Email: Web:


Column: Emma Ward‘Country Girl’

Beautiful Britain


he early months of the year can be bleak in Britain, causing many of us to book our holidays in far flung places. Some of you may remember my first ‘sunny’ holiday abroad to the Canary Islands which I wrote about in last September’s column. Much as I enjoyed this holiday of endless sunshine and cocktails, there was a distinct lack of culture involved. I mean something I could get my teeth into, not tacky gimics to make money out of unsuspecting tourists. The landscapes of these sweltering islands are not particularly beautiful either; vast areas of dry and dusty soil and bare volcanic rock with little plant life make up much of the islands and the many building sites do little to improve the view. The weather was glorious, but there wasn’t much to keep my inquisitive mind occcupied. It made me realise how lucky we are to live in a place so rich in culture and history and to make the most of it I have embarked on a mission to prove how many things there are to do in Britain,

Whipsnade Tree Cathedral

especially in the countryside, and that they don’t have to cost a fortune. In two weeks I have battled the weather and visited attractions in four different counties! I firstly took a short holiday to Southwold in Suffolk, where my better half, Dale and I quickly discovered we would have to amuse ourselves, as most tourist attractions are closed at this time of year. I donned my rather fetching new pink raincoat and we braved the elements to explore the vast Suffolk coast and countryside. Over five days we walked several miles along the coast and meandered around nature reserves, heathland, ancient secluded churches and picturesque villages. This meant

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

a cheaper holiday with the added benefit of exercise, which was needed to work off the pints of Aspalls I had become partial to! Dale and I are members of the National Trust which opens up a world of opportunities in the UK. Membership allows you free entrance to some of Britain’s most monumental historic houses and much, much more. We stopped off at National Trust owned Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire on the way home and were astounded at the amount there is to see and for us, for free! We spent nearly three hours at Wimpole and only managed a stroll around the gardens and lunch in the café. There is still the Hall itself and Home Farm (small additional charge) to see, so a return visit is definitely on the cards. A Trust membership also allows you free parking at numerous ‘natural’ attractions such as Dunwich Heath in Suffolk and even the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent! With the right clothing and a will to explore, these areas of protected land can be enjoyed at any time of the year and are not usually restricted by seasonal opening hours. Our most recent trip was to Whipsnade Tree Cathedral

Emma Ward

Country Girl in Bedfordshire and a very windy walk with Tia, the black Labrador, on Dunstable Downs. Both places are free for everyone. The only small expense is the pay and display car park for the Downs and the wonderful café inside the Visitor Centre, which may tempt you to part with some pounds! Both the Tree Cathedral and the Downs would make a perfect place for a family picnic during the summer months and a cheap day out. These places may not be as well known as nearby attraction, Whipsnade Zoo, but with a little research and planning, a day out in our Great British Countryside can be just as enjoyable... now where are my wellies?! See

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l Recipe:

Helen Mackellar

Roast Pork Belly (Serves 4)

Ingredients: Rapeseed Oil 1tsp ground cumin 1tsp ground coriander 1tsp salt 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 1kg+ piece of pork belly on the bone What to do: First preheat your oven to 210C for a fan assisted oven. Mix together the ground cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. If you want you could lightly toast and grind your own but this is the quick version! Take your piece of pork belly and score the skin with a sharp knife (if your butcher has not already done this for you). Rub it with a handful of rapeseed oil and then rub in your spice mix (you may not need all of it so save what’s leftover in an old jam jar, ready for next time you make this delicious dish!). Put the meat in a pan where it can comfortably sit without being too squashed or too lost in the pan. Once the oven is up to temperature, put the meat in for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes you can have a quick peek at how it is getting on and then turn down the oven to about 150C (for a

fan assisted oven) and leave the meat there for another 90 minutes (or so). Cooking this way is very flexible - it doesn’t matter if you leave it for 2 hours - just kick back and relax knowing you are about to serve up a delicious, tender roast to your friends and family. Once you are ready, take the meat out of the oven and leave it to sit in a warm place for 20-30 minutes (don’t worry it won’t get cold!). This is great served as the traditional roast or with mash and some cabbage. I’m often asked what my secret is to great crackling... Well (cue the big reveal!), there is only 1 answer to that. No amount of drying, scalding, oil, salt, or anything else will get you great crackling unless you have a happy pig to start with! So your great crackling comes from your shopping trip, not anything you can do in the kitchen! Our pigs have the sun on their backs (when it shows its face?!), live a natural life rooting around and have the opportunity, in their family group, to display all their natural piggy tendencies. All these factors, coupled with their fresh and varied diet, bring you a product that in the words of the Great Taste judges is ‘flawless’.


his is a recipe that has great associations for me, being the recipe we submitted to be judged by the Great Taste judges in 2012 when we won three stars: the highest possible accolade and the fine food version of three Michelin stars for fine dining! Anyone who knows me, knows that I like to make great tasting food that gives the impression you have been slaving over a hot stove for hours when the reality is that, whilst it may take a bit longer to cook, it is not ‘hands on’ time but rather time I can be working on the farm, playing with the kids or planning the next adventure for Orchard View Farm!

Helen Mackellar l Jim and Helen Mackellar own and

run Orchard View Farm, Shop and Café, raising award-winning meats and showcasing some of the best local produce in the Chilterns. l Orchard View Farm, Stockwell Lane, Little Meadle, Buckinghamshire HP17 9UG Tel: 01844 273387 Web:

New menu: come in, or see our website for details

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1-4pm, Mothering Sunday (March 30th) and May 4th For further information or to book, please call John on: 01296 696380 or email:

Ladies Disco Night Saturday, March 29th

Monthly Quiz

First Tuesday of each month £10 per head (food inc), bubbley & cash prizes 20 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6AR Tel; 01296 696380 Email: Website: Open: Monday - Saturday: 9am-12am, Sunday: 9am-11.30pm Food served all day. 54

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Column: Heather Jan Brunt ‘This farming life’

Dragon’s den


huge sleeping dragon is slowly coming to life near Waddesdon and will roar into action this summer as an exciting new eco-attraction. The Green Dragon Rare Breeds Farm and Eco Centre at Hogshaw is the dream of Ray Marzec, a former graphic designer who has funded his £1.5 million project mainly through buying, doing up and selling properties. The site will include a huge eco centre with café and an upstairs exhibition area, a messy play barn, nature walks, a fish pond, lots of rare breed animals, a walled garden and an outdoor play area with a grassy mound shaped into a dragon. The facilities have been designed to be accessible to all, with slopes, a lift in the café, raised beds in the walled garden and disabled toilets. Ray hopes the farm and eco centre, due to open on 1st July, will prove to be just as popular a visitor attraction as its nearby neighbours Waddesdon Manor, Claydon House and the Buckinghamshire Railway

Ray Marzec upstairs in the Eco Centre

This farming life Heather Jan Brunt

Ray says ‘Green Dragon’ was chosen as their name because green is an eco-friendly colour and a dragon is memorable and doesn’t prioritise a particular farm animal.

Centre. Ray, 58, moved into a mobile home on the 43 acre site nearly 12 years ago and through sheer hard work, determination, and a very sunny disposition, his dream is now almost at fruition and it’s all he thinks about. He hasn’t watched television for 25 years, giving his focus entirely to the eco centre. He said: “I would get sucked in if I turned the telly on, because it’s a visual medium and I’m from a graphic design background and it’s always interesting, so I don’t switch it on. I listen to the radio instead; you can do a lot of things while

listening to the radio.” He currently lives in one of the courtyard buildings he converted, but that is now on the market to raise further funds for the eco farm. He has no idea where he will move to, and doesn’t seem too bothered about not knowing where his next home will be. Mr Marzec’s positive outlook is helping him realise his passion and now that the opening day is coming ever nearer he is getting increasingly excited. He said: “We will have six fulltime and 12 part-time members of staff. I hope it will be a popular

Win tickets to the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC


he BBC Good Food Show Summer returns to the NEC Birmingham, from June 12-15th, with an array of well-known brands, kitchen appliances and gadgets, a spread of the finest local and regional produce and the best in live cooking, book signings and tastings all under one roof. Visitors can expect a food experience like no other.

Highlights will include: The Supertheatre where visitors can see live cooking demonstrations from some of the best and most loved food stars in the country, including The Hairy Bikers, Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, James Martin and John Torode. This year, we will see Michelin-starred chefs go head to head in the Michelin Star Challenge. The ever popular Saturday

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Kitchen Live sessions in the Supertheatre on Sunday, June 15 will be hosted by two-Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge with wine expert Peter Richards. Special guests this year are fellow Michelin-starred chefs, Jason Atherton and Atul Kochhar. Summer Kitchen - a brand new stage hosted by Lisa Faulkner. BBC Good Food Kitchen - a fine dining restaurant serving up delicious dishes from the BBC Good Food recipe collection matched with superb wine options. Good Food Bakes & Cakes Village - Tips, recipe ideas and all you need to bake like the experts. Producers’ Village - a huge speciality food market. BBC Gardeners’ World Live Tickets to the show include free entry to BBC Gardeners’ World Live where you can see gardening experts including Monty Don, Carol Klein, Joe Swift and Diarmuid Gavin live on stage sharing their expertise. Chef’s Kitchen Garden

tourist attraction with the emphasis on education first and fun second. I want it to appeal to people of all ages, who will hopefully enjoy spending a whole day here or buy an annual pass so that they can make lots of visits.” Entry will cost £8.50 for adults and £7.50 for children, with the opportunity to purchase an annual pass for £54. l Heather Jan Brunt is a journalist

and a farmer’s wife. You can follow her on Twitter @HJBjournalist. She and her husband sell their own award winning Terrick Beef and other local produce from their small farm shop in Terrick on the first Friday and Saturday of each month. Further details on:

Containers - BBC Gardeners’ World Live have teamed up with the BBC Good Food Show chefs to bring you 10 Chef’s Kitchen Garden Containers. From Mary Berry’s edible flowers to The Hairy Bikers Asian Inspiration and James Martin’s Herbs for flavouring meat, there’s no shortage of ideas for growing in pots. Tickets to the BBC Good Food Show Summer are now available to purchase but if you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a free pair of tickets to this year’s show, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: What are The Hairy Bikers’ names? Winner to be drawn at random from correct answers and notified by email by April 30th, 2014. l Bookings Tel: 0844 581 1341 Ticket prices from £24.25 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Polenta is not widely eaten here, but it is getting quite trendy in some quarters. If you are not sure you like it, Giuliana of Cici-Coco Italian Cookery School has a recipe that will turn you into a true fan...


olenta has suddenly become quite trendy; the first polenta-only restaurant recently opened in London, but it is yet to become a popular dish with the British. This recipe is from my region, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, and uses polenta I collect from the mountains but so long as you don’t use quick-cook polenta, it is still delicious. When it arrives at the table in Italy people say ‘mangia’ e muri,’ which translates as ‘eat and die,’ meaning it is so good that you could die happy after eating it!! For me food creates and evokes memories. When we cook and eat we are often taken to different places and it is probably the main

Mountain corn at Socchieve

reason why I love cooking. This happens to me every time I cook polenta… Living and working in Buckinghamshire gives me the opportunity to recreate the flavours and perfumes of the Italian regions with the beautiful local ingredients I have around me here. Polenta is not yet produced locally (watch this space!), but in Italy there are so many flavours and textures associated with polenta

and the regions it is from. At my cookery school I use polenta from a small village called Socchieve in the Alpi Carniche mountains in Friuli. It is made from a heritage variety of corn which is only available from that one place… three years ago it was extinct but artisan farmer Fiorindo Mazzolini, has managed to bring it back to life and is now

producing the most amazing polenta again A real food hero!

l Cici-Coco Kitchen, Beam Cottage, Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0AS Tel: 07939 032834 Email: Website: Twitter @cicicocokitchen

Foncs in toc’ in braide (Mushrooms with a farm sauce) (Serves 6 - big starter)

Mushrooms with a Farm Sauce ‘Foncs in toc’ in braide’ Ingredients: Soft polenta: 750g water 750g whole milk 9g sea salt 165g polenta (not quick cook!) Butter sauce ‘Morchia’: 200g butter 80g polenta Cheese fondue sauce: 170g of mixed good English cheeses. (we used Crudges cheese from Oxford: Churchill, Haddon Gold & Aventon are the best) 85g cream (North Ashton Dairy is fantastic)

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Mushrooms topping: 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced 10g dried porcini mushrooms (rehydrated) 1 tbsp butter 1 clove of garlic crushed To garnish: Grated smoked hard cheese (Smoked ricotta is the best!)

How I make it: 1. Butter Sauce ‘Morchia’: A very special clarified butter. Cook the butter on a very low heat for 2 hours without skimming. After this time the sprinkle with polenta flour and the residue of the butter will drop to the

bottom. The butter will have a honey like colour. You can make more than you need and keep in a sterilised glass container for up to 8 months!. 2. Polenta: Boil the milk, water and salt in a pan. In a separate dry pan pour in the polenta flour and toast it for 5 minutes; this will give the polenta a smoky flavour. Slowly add the toasted polenta flour to the hot liquid whisking to avoid lumps. Cook on a low heat for about 40 minutes mixing occasionally or in a low oven with the lid for the same length of time. 3. Fondue: Grate all the cheeses in a glass bowl. Add the cream and very gently melt the cheese on a bainmarie (keep the heat very low). When the cheese is melted and the sauce is shiny the fondue is ready. 4. Mushrooms : Gently fry the garlic, porcini and chestnut mushrooms in the butter.

To serve: Spoon a small amount of the ‘Morchia’ onto the plate and then add the soft polenta. Spoon on fondue then another small spoon of the ‘Morchia’ and top with the fried mushrooms. To finish add lots of grated smoked cheese.

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

It’s foodie heaven - up to 120 exhibitors featuring regionally produced and internationally acclaimed artisan food and drink and it’s just up the road...


he Great Missenden Food Festival not only showcases regional and internationally acclaimed artisan foods, but helps to promote our fabulous local producers, demonstrating the delights that The Chilterns has to offer. Buying locally has become important as it not only helps to support our local economy, but also cuts down on ‘food miles’ therefore reducing our carbon footprint. All exhibitors in Gt Missenden Food Festival’s local producer area are based within a 20 mile radius of the town. Attractions for the festival this year also include: Cathryn Dresser (Series 3 of The Great British Bake Off) on Sun, April 20th, providing hints and tips to ensure your bakes are soggy bottom free! The Great

Cathryn Dresser Local producer area

Cake Bake competition into which visitors can enter their own cake creations for the chance of winning a meal for two at a local restaurant - judging will take place on Sun, April 20th (all entries must be received by 1pm). Cook, wild food expert, stockman, hunter, fisherman, author, presenter and ex Head Chef of River Cottage, Mark Lloyd, will be in attendance on Fri 18th and Sat 19th, there’s a Kids Food Laboratory, Barbecue

picnic essentials, knife skills and more. The Festival takes place in Great Missenden on Friday 18th, Kids Food Laboratory, Science Area and Cookery School Saturday 19th, Theatre, Barbecue Cook Off Sunday 20th and Competition, Mini Chilli Festival Monday 21st April. Opening times and much more... are 10am to 5pm and admission The Festival is a great day out charges apply (see ad below). for the whole family with cookery For further information and demonstrations, Children’s Cookery details of workshops please visit: School, Kids Food Science Area, www.greatmissendenfoodfestival. Easter Egg Hunt, pasta making, or call 02476 541055.

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


l Column: Jacqui

Get fresh on market date


fter what seems to have been relentless rain and storm force wind since December, the UK has been a battleground for the elements. Our media has been filled with the reality of flooding, with some southern areas of the country underwater for several weeks. Motorways were closed, public transport halted, numerous homes suffered power cuts and whole villages have been cut off. One of the worst hit communities has to be that of the farmer, suffering damage to crops, loss of feed and accommodation for livestock, along with the flooding of their own homes. I’ve read of the agricultural community banding together by sheltering livestock for flood hit neighbours and donating feed. But what can we, the consumer, do to show our support? Build an ark? Well, yes, quite possibly. But perhaps something a little more realistic is to invest our

Thorndyke ‘Foodie On Tour’

Fab local produce from Vale Harvest

hard earned. Oxon and Bucks have a stunning selection of farmers’ markets and farm shops, where you can buy direct from the producer, often at lower prices and fresher than in supermarkets, but with higher profit margins and less restrictions for the farmer. Not only that, but you can stop for a tea or coffee at an onsite cafe or refreshments stall, get some fresh air, meet the producers, pick up a bargain or two and discover a whole world of fabulous local produce that may not end up on your supermarket shelves... could this quite possibly be the most enjoyable good deed ever?! Most of our local towns, even villages, have regular weekly or monthly markets. Often steeped in history, these markets can date

back hundreds of years, to a time well before the big supermarkets – though the produce has probably moved on somewhat. Reopening in early February was one of my favourite markets Vale Harvest Market. Based in the quaint village of Haddenham, the market runs on the first Saturday of every month, from 9am to 1pm. Make sure you get there early though, to avoid missing out on all the good stuff - such as fresh fruit and veg from Bucksum and Sandy Lane Farm, wonderful fresh bread from Cornfield Bakery, breakfastready bacon and sausages from Egg House Charcuterie, fresh beef for your Sunday lunch from Oving Dexters and delicious Italian dinners from the award-winning CiCi CoCo Kitchen. It doesn’t stop there though; you’ll also find plenty of fabulous cakes, soft centre Scotch eggs, hot drinks, beer, oils and chutneys. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather amble around a lovely local market than elbow my way round a packed and frenetic supermarket at the weekend. Better still, you’ll be supporting your local producers

Vale Life : Sept/Oct 2013

Jacqui Thorndyke

through what, for many, will be a very challenging time. That has to be a no-brainer, right? Just remember to pack your wellies though; while I can promise great food, I’m afraid I can’t do much about the weather. If you’d like to find a farmers’ market near you, check the Events section of my blog, or contact your local council.. l For local food and restaurant reviews and recommendations, visit, or follow Jacqui on Twitter @FoodieOnTour. To contact Jacqui directly, please email:

Win dinner for 2 at The Crown, Granborough


he Crown at Granborough is an attractive, ancient village pub and restaurant, offering the finest local and seasonal produce, in this pretty village, just outside Winslow, in the heart of Aylesbury Vale. The Crown has been completely and stylishly refurbished to create a pub and restaurant that is both cosily traditional and excitingly contemporary. Inside, there are two restaurant areas, The Oak Room and The Crown Room, both of which have an extremely warm, comfortable and welcoming feel. Head Chef, Adam Montgomery, has worked in some the Country’s most exclusive restaurants, but he still knows how to make delicious and affordable pub grub, as well as exceptional seasonal specialities. Everything that can be homemade is homemade, from the breads served, through the marinade for the olives, to the burger, its bun and the tomato relish that comes with it. This means that even a humble sausage roll is elevated to something really special with the use of seasonal ingredients such as venison and chestnuts, served with the pub’s own red onion relish. Ingredients are sourced from the 58

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

finest suppliers to insure both the quality of the produce and the animal husbandry attached to it and fish is all from sustainable sources. The menu is in three main parts: Bar Snacks, the Crown Classics and the Crown Jewels. The delicious and affordable Bar Snacks are served in the Main Bar and the Wine Bar. The Crown Classics cover a broad range of traditional pub favourites from locally sourced 8oz sirloin steak, though

triple cooked chips, to sticky toffee pudding. The Crown Jewels allow Adam and his team to express their skill and creativity. The Jewels change every week and divide into starters, mains and desserts, with two or three choices in each. The Crown also offer a seven course tasting menu that showcases the very best of the Crown Jewels. In addition there is a Children’s Menu and occasional seasonal

specials from around the world, such as an Iberico ham, (served with the recommendation of a perfectly matched sherry). The use of seasonal produce means specialities may feature for a very limited period, such as white truffles and porcini in the autumn which may last as little as a week. You can sign up for the pub newsletter though and get tipped off as to what’s coming up. There is of course a vegetarian selection and the kitchen is happy to cater for any specific dietary requirements, but would ask that you discuss these when booking a table. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning dinner for two, with a bottle of house wine, at The Crown at Granborough simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Where does The Queen keep her Crown Jewels? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by April 25th, 2014. l The Crown, Winslow Road Granborough Buckingham MK18 3NJ Tel 01296 670216 Email: Web:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Four in a Bed at The George and Dragon!

Landlords of The George & Dragon, Princes Risborough, Ian and Elle are appearing in Channel4 TV series Four in a Bed! It’s not easy being a TV star and running a pub though... “


e think they liked us in the end!” laughs Elle Betchley, having spent two weeks filming a series of ‘Four in a Bed’ for Channel4 and being matched with three very different couples. “We’re a pretty lively couple and we tried to throw ourselves into the programme, be natural and have a laugh right from the start, but some of the others were a bit more reserved. We had a fun time though, the whole experience was really, really good. We did it to put Princes Risborough on the map and attract people to the area - and The George and Dragon of course and I think it will do that. Four in a Bed follows the owners of four Guest Houses while stay at each other’s was quite surprised when he received an email accommodation and then judge who has the saying they were coming to screen test us the best. Ian and Elle had to travel to Edenmore next morning! They obviously thought we were Guest House, in Ardrossan, Scotland, OK as they gave us dates to be available and Grassington Lodge in Yorkshire and Manor book out the pub for filming. Farm, Poundon, near Bicester. “When filming the programme, which has a They got to try half hour episode screened More of a pancake than a Victoria sponge! each day for a week, you curling in Scotland, baking a Victoria have to arrive at a given Sponge in Yorkshire, guest house in the morning (which unfortunately and be filmed checking in, didn’t go too well go to be filmed doing an after a mix up over activity in the afternoon, measuring ingredients), then having an evening and feeding crocodiles meal. You spend a night in Oxfordshire! When at the guest house, have the teams all came to breakfast the next morning stay at The George and are then filmed filling and Dragon Ian and Elle took them ghost out your score sheets and leaving. You travel hunting at Wycombe’s Hellfire Caves. on to your next destination but have a night “We were sent an invitation to appear on the off en route staying in a hotel not connected show,” says Elle. “and I thought it would be with the show. It’s fairly full-on with long days fun. I said yes without mentioning it to Ian. He and although we had a weekend off, it was

Elle throws herself into the curling

Cake baking in Yorkshire

Elle and Ian Curling in Scotland with the other contestants

really busy back at the George and Dragon, so we were completely exhausted by the time we started filming at Princes Risborough!” “We’re fairly new to the hotel business, we’ve run pubs and bars before but The George and Dragon is our first with accommodation, so it was interesting to see what we could learn from other places and we have already made a couple of improvements as a result. “We came second in the end behind the Yorkshire guest house, which was a five star and verging on a boutique hotel, so we are really pleased.” If you missed the series see: www.channel4. com/programmes/four-in-a-bed/4od l The George & Dragon, 74 High Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0AX Tel: 01844 343087 Email: Website:

Breakfast in Yorkshire

Elle reads Ian a bathtime story!

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


ak ea wa y or t Ea t


Little Kimble Indian Restaurant

F m ree ile d s ( el or ive de ry rs up ov to er fi £2 ve 0)

Most of us love a curry but we don’t usually think of a ‘trip to the indian’ as a gourmet experience. A visit to Little Kimble will introduce you to a whole new take on traditional Indian cooking though, thanks to the unique talents of a particularly creative and experienced Bangladeshi chef...


sab and Ruba Hussain opened their Little Kimble Indian Restaurant nearly a year ago. After an extensive refurbishment it is now smart, stylish, comfortable and welcoming and run by the couple with help from their nephew Pamel, barmaid/waitress Redoy and chefs Abjal and Rahman. Asab is originally from Bangladesh but came to England at the age of 12 and grew up in the East End of London. He has always been fascinated by cooking and remembers 1970s England when there were only a few Indian restaurants: “Most people didn’t know what curry was then,” he says. “It was a very creative time though, Indian restaurants were all cooking different recipes, there was lots of regional variety. Over the years the industry has become very standardised with the same dishes on the menu, no matter where you go.” Having worked in Indian restaurants for over 30 years, Asab is not only a very experienced chef but also knows what people like. At Little Kimble Indian Restaurant he has put together a menu which contains all the usual favourites but then introduces some exciting new dishes - many of which are his own unique recipes. He is drawing on the regional variations in Indian cooking to offer a more inspiring experience and the option of trying something new that is thoroughly delicious! When it comes to cooking Asab has a light touch and his clever and inventive use of fresh spices and seasonings produce dishes

From left: Asab, Abzal, Redoy, Rahman, Ruba and Pamel that are simply bursting with flavour. He even breathes new life into standard dishes such as a Chicken Korma or Dansak - they are as you know them but with added depth and zing and beautifully presented. His own recipes are even more impressive though - Nehari Lamb is Roast Lamb Shank in Bhuna Sauce with Red Wine, see below. It’s Asab’s take on a dish from Northern India which originally involved cooking a whole sheep! The beautifully tender lamb falls from the bone and is delicately spiced with warming, aromatic flavours - quite delicious. Similarly his Bashey Hush (below left) - slices of duck breast roasted in butter and served on a bed of asparagus and potatoes sounds unusual but it works - the tender juicy duck is delicately spiced and

combines perfectly with the asparagus and potato in one of the best meat and two veg dishes ever! At Little Kimble Asab aims to let customers experience the true variety in Indian regional cooking, from the fish and seafood delights of Eastern India to the rich royal cuisine of Kashmir and Rajasthan, from fiery hot Goan dishes to Punjabi baltis and of course recipes from his childhood home Jagannathpur in the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. l Little Kimble Indian Restaurant, Risborough Road, Little Kimble, nr Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP17 0UF Tel: 01296 615245 / 615927 Open: Tue-Sat 5.30-11pm, Sunday: 12-3.30pm & 5.30-11pm

Bashey Hush Tikka Pati starter (Chicken fried with paprika and sweet chilli sauce served in a chapati Asab serves a Sunday lunch meat platter of Tikka Pati, Lamb Bhuna, Tikka Mojador, Sag Aloo, Rice and Naan (£11.95) 60

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Mass Bhaja starter (Stir fried tuna)

Madur Gajori Chicken Tikka Mojadar

Nehari Lamb

Cobra & Kingfisher on draught

by Cathy Soughton

The Court House Long Crendon


ucked away close to St Mary’s parish church in the pretty village of Long Crendon is a beautiful medieval Court House which dates from the 15th century. Now owned by the National Trust it is open to the public and is well worth a visit. The Court House is a long two storey timber framed jettied building. Dendrochronology tests using tree rings to date some of the original beams show that they were felled between 1483 and 1487. It is believed that the building originally served as a church house - the medieval equivalent of the church hall, and would have been used to celebrate religious festivals and ‘church ales’ which were social gatherings to raise funds for the church with strong ale brewed and drunk on the premises! The Puritans disapproved of such merriment and under Oliver Cromwell’s rule in the 1650s church ales were banned. Redundant church houses were often converted into pubs or schools but in the case of the Court House at Long Crendon it was used to hold regular manor courts (the building may well

The Court House, Long Crendon have also been used for this purpose since it was built). In the 1200s the manor of Long Crendon was divided between three separate families. By the 1500s, the three Lords of the Manors were the Dromer family who were Wycombe wool merchants, St George’s Chapel in Windsor and All Souls College in Oxford. Manor courts were originally held to administer the customs of the manor and deal with any civil disputes and minor crimes and offences such as selling rancid fish and unlicensed beer. All tenants in the village would originally have been expected to attend the courts. By the Tudor period courts mainly just dealt with property issues

and the transfer of copyhold land. In practice the courts for each of the three manors in Long Crendon were probably held at the same time (at least annually if not more frequently) and would have been administered by a locally appointed steward who represented the three Lords of the Manor. Outside the court meetings it seems the building was also used in this period to store and sell wool. The manor courts would have been held on the first floor of the building which was, as now, one large long open room with a small adjoining room, used at one point as a kitchen. The exposed roof beams are a key feature

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

of the room and comprise five bays of alternating tie beams and arch braced collar trusses. The timber framed walls are now infilled with brick but originally they would probably have been filled with wattle and daub. On the ground floor each bay was separated to form individual rooms which by the 18th century were used to accommodate the homeless poor of the parish. After 1834 when the Poor Law Act was introduced a new Union Workhouse was built nearby at Thame so the lower rooms were rented out. The upper floor continued to be used for the Manor Court meetings and was also used by the local Sunday school. However the building by this time had fallen into disrepair and the vicar mounted a campaign to save it. Following a survey by the recently formed National Trust it was restored in 1900 and became the second property to be acquired by the organisation. The Court House (upper floor only, accessed by very steep steps) is now open to the public on Wednesdays, and weekends. l Cathy Soughton is a professional genealogist and architectural historian providing family history and house history research in Bucks and adjacent counties: Tel: 01296 624845 Web: Email:,

Welcome... Eat Well, Laugh Much, Drink Often...

Welcome... Andy and Emma welcome you to The Boot, modern country pub and eating house, in the heart of the picturesque Chiltern Hills Enjoy fresh, locally produced food, local ales and fabulous wines. Our chef creates exciting dishes suitable for all tastebuds, so families can dine in style. The fun doesn’t stop there though, we’ve some fabulous events planned: Sun, March 30th: Mother’s Day lunch Fri, July 11th: The Boot Ball

So, whether you fancy a casual drink, a delicious meal, a fun night out, or leisurely Sunday lunch, come to the The Boot! Chinnor Road, Bledlow Ridge, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4AW Tel: 01494 481499 | Email: Website: Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Dial E for E Easter is upon us and at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre there’s an entertainment eggstravaganza kicking off! Lots of cracking shows, good enough to lure you away from those Easter eggs!

Nina Kristofferson’s Billie Holiday Story


urn off the choccie eggs well in advance with a dose of high energy moves courtesy of the brand new 2014 production of Fame - The Musical. Ready to take you on a hi-octane rollercoaster ride through dizzy heights and crashing lows, this new production is based on the Oscar-winning musical film. So join your favourite group of star-struck wannabes as they embark on their quest for the ultimate accolade – fame! Bursting with dynamic dance routines and unforgettable songs, Fame has enjoyed seven West End runs since premiering in the USA in 1988 and continues to be performed all over the world. A month of music is in store in April with some of the greatest tribute acts on the circuit taking to the stage to celebrate icons of the pop industry. Lee Memphis King returns due to popular demand as Europe’s most successful Elvis Presley tribute in One Night of Elvis. Whether you’re a hound dog with a suspicious mind or just have an overwhelming desire to do the Jailhouse Rock, this show is

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story 62

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

sure to get you dancing in the aisles. A tribute of a different nature arrives with Nina Kristofferson’s Billie Holiday Story. Nina and her breathtaking band present a must-see brilliant work in a magical, gripping show that offers a unique cocktail of songs and stories from Billie Holiday’s life. That’ll Be The Day, the nation’s favourite Rock ‘n’ Roll variety show returns with a knock-out mix of hilarious comedy routines and hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s for a party atmosphere like no other. Then it’s time to don your dark-rimmed spectacles at the end of April for the 25th anniversary tour of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. This multi-award winning West End show gives you the chance to experience the drama, passion and excitement of Buddy’s sensational life story - from his meteoric rise to fame, to his final legendary performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake Iowa. With some of the greatest songs ever written including Oh Boy, Rave On, La Bamba,

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story

Easter! Chantilly Lace, Shout and many more, this show is just Peggy Sue-perb! A murder is in our midst! Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder starring Christopher Timothy (All Creatures Great and Small, Doctors) is Frederick Knott’s intense and darkly gripping thriller. Advised for ages 12+ this acclaimed production reclaims this brilliant and erotic tale of betrayal, passion and ultimately, murder. Private Peaceful, written by the author of War Horse Michael Morpurgo, relives the life of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young First World War soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn. During the night he looks back at his short but joyful past growing up in rural Devon: his first days at school; the accident in the forest that killed his father; his adventures with Molly, the love of his life; and the battles and injustices of war that brought him to the frontline. Fancy an evening with a difference? An Evening of Burlesque features a troupe of burlesque all-stars ready to invite you in for a riotous romp into the bizarre world of cutting-edge variety. Brace yourself for the slickest, wickedly wittiest cabaret extravaganza of the year. For a change from the theatre’s main auditorium, why not catch Alan Williams in the Second Space for an acoustic evening transporting you back to the 70s when he was the front man of Glam Rock icons, The Rubettes, and don’t miss April’s Comedy Club - tickets sell fast so book early! Oh and for the little theatre fans out there, there’s a big adventure in sight with Peppa Pig’s Big Splash! With super-cute puppets in an all-singing, all-dancing show full of songs, games and muddy puddles, Peppa is sure to brighten your day, so go on, grab your wellies and get booking! Tickets for all shows are now available. Visit Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office, call 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit: (bkg fee)

Ellen Kent opera Nabucco

Coming up at The Waterside Your at-a-glance guide to what’s on... Fame

Mon 24th Sat 29th March

Nina Kristofferson’s Billie Holiday Story

Tue 1st April

That’ll Be The Day

Thu 3rd April

Ellen Kent Opera: Nabucco

Fri 4th April

Comedy Club (Second Space)

Fri 4th April

An Evening of Burlesque

Sat 5th April

Dial M For Murder

Tue 8th to Sat 12th April

Private Peaceful

Wed 9th to Sat 12th April

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash

Tue 15th to Wed 16th April

Hear The People Sing

Tue 22nd April

Alan Davies

Thur 24th April

One Night of Elvis

Fri 25th April

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Musical

Mon 28th April to Sat 3rd May

l Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UG Telephone Booking: 0844 871 7607 Website:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Sponsored by Martin KempProperty Property Services Insight Residential lettings

Are you an accidental lan

Aylesbury Festival Choir is on home ground to perform Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Requiem by Biber in a fabulous evening of choral classics...

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With interest rates staying low, mor and more savers are investing in property. According to research by the Strategic Society Centre, buy-to-let investors are generally older, have good credit and savings The 1.9 million in this group have an average age of 48, and are well educated, with savings and investments of around £75,000. Property outperforms savings

The reasons are simple: property ha been likely to outperform savings for some time, and pension pots require a dash extra to supplement them. The investors even have a ne nickname: Grandlords. Research published in 2013 by Simply Business showed that the number of these older investors had risen b 33% since 2009. In fact, a survey b Auction Finance indicated that eigh out of 10 landlords are relying on their buy-to-lets as an alternative to traditional pensions.

Conductor and Musical Director: James Davey

To see our properties visit

Aylesbury Festival Choir: photograph by David Manning ©


lassical music fans can take a trip back more than 300 years in time when one of Aylesbury’s most celebrated choirs performs for their home town. Aylesbury Festival Choir will be at the Methodist Church in Buckingham Street on April 5th to sing a famous work by Handel that dates back to 1707. Dixit Dominus (The Lord Said) is a psalm that begins with these words and was believed to have been written by the celebrated composer when he was living in Italy. It uses the Latin text of Psalm 110. The festival choir will also perform Requiem, by Biber. Tickets for the event are available from choir members, on the door, or via the website: The conductor for the evening is the choir’s musical director since January 2009, James Davey, one of the UK’s most distinguished and respected young choral conductors, in demand for his work as conductor, choir trainer and choral education practitioner. James is also Musical Director of Chantage, BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year 2006 (which he founded in 1999 on taking up residency at St Paul’s Cathedral School as Music Assistant), the Chandos Chamber Choir, the Fleet Singers and a number of office choirs, including; Channel 4’s own staff choir the 4Tunes. James is also a Choir Trainer for the Royal College of Music Junior Department, a Guest 64

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Conductor for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, and a tutor for the Cranleigh Choral Week, the Ingenium Academy, the Sherborne Summer School of Music and the Music of Life Foundation. Aylesbury Festival Choir continues to be supported by high calibre soloists and musicians. Its concerts are known for high standards of performance and presentation - a testament to the vision, commitment and enthusiasm of many people whose varied talents, expertise and hard work behind the scenes have enabled the choir to flourish throughout its long history. Thelma King, a full-time accompanist living in Aylesbury, who has worked with the choir for several years, has been assisting at rehearsals for this concert but on April 5th The Lawes Baroque Players will accompanying the choir, as the concert consists of music from the late 16th century and some of the instruments they are playing will be typical of those used at that time. Soloists on the night include: Emilia Fox (soprano), Alison Hill (soprano), Ruth Massey (contralto), Kevin Kyle (tenor) William Gaunt (bass). David Aylett, an architect by profession, founded the choir in 1958 as an informal group giving concerts of carols and Christmas music. This soon grew into a permanent choir originally named the December Festival Choir, which he conducted for 27 years. He then sang in the tenor section until 2009 and

Aylesbury Festival Choir in concert: Dixit Dominus - Handel Requiem - Biber. Conductor James Davey Saturday, April 5th, 7.30pm Aylesbury Methodist Church, Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2NQ Tickets £12 / 310 available from choir members, on the door, or see website:

continued to organise and conduct carol concerts for many years. David was music adviser to Aylesbury Vale District Council and organised and conducted a regular series of Music For Everyone concerts, combining choral and orchestral works. In 1975 he organised and conducted a performance of Handel’s Messiah to mark the opening of Aylesbury Civic Centre. In 2004 in recognition of his services to amateur music for more than 50 years, Making Music gave him the national Lady Hilary Groves Award. David composes choral and orchestral music and in November 2008 the Aylesbury Festival choir premiered With Voice Divine, a work for choir, soloists and orchestra, which David composed to celebrate its 50th anniversary season.

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Bouquet arrangement competition entries

One of the joys of living in The Vale surrounded by beautiful countryside is the fabulous country shows and farmers’ rallies which crop up each year. They make for a great family day out and a lovely way for non-farmers to get involved with the agricultural community around us...


ake your way to Manor House Farm, Bledlow, on May 31st for Bledlow Country Show and Princes Risborough Young Farmers’ Club Rally. This year’s event is run by Princes Risborough Young Farmers, part of Buckinghamshire Federation of Young Farmers and ultimately the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. The seven Buckinghamshire Young Farmers Clubs take it in turns to host this annual country show each year, so it is constantly on the move around Bucks The event features young farmer competitions, handicrafts, tug of war, stock competitions, cookery, flower arranging, wood work, country skills photography and much more and usually attracts between five and seven thousand visitors. The 2014 Bledlow Country Show promises to be a fun, family day out with the spectacle of Young Farmers’ Clubs fiercely competing at everything from homecrafts, flower arranging and photography, to vehicle handling, welding and the inter-club main ring competitions. The club with the most points scored on the day is awarded the coveted Rally Cup. The general public will be entertained with main ring attractions such as: the Parade of Fox Hounds, Dog Agility Competition, Vintage and Modern Tractor Parade and Tug of War competition. Working Demonstrations include: Thatching, Hand Spinning, Wood Turning, Lace Making and Heavy Horse Dray Rides There will also be craft demonstrations, a crafts barn, a farmers market, shopping and refreshment stalls.

Cart race

There are also a number of Sponsorship Packages available for business and individuals, from the Individual Class Sponsorship costing £25 up to a Principal Show Sponsor Package at £500. Details and a Trade Space booking form can be found on the show website at: Crafts Stands Craft stand spaces are available in the Livestock comp at Bucks County Show main barn which is Pic: close to the main show ring. The barn has a The show will appeal to the concrete floor and whole family and is sure to be a electricity can be made great day out, being in the beautiful available (additional surroundings of Manor House Farm. £10 charge) for those Don’t feed the animals! who book before 31st Tickets available on gate: March. See website for more details. Adults £10, Children 5-15yrs £5, Children 4 yrs and under Free. Family ticket (2 adults l Bledlow Country Show & Princes Risborough with up to 3 children) £25. YFC Members £5 Young Farmers’ Club Rally, Manor House Farm, with ID. Show Sponsorship, Trade Stands and Yearbook Advertising If you are interested in having a Trade Stand at this event, spaces are available flanking the main ring from £10 per metre frontage.

Sheepdog demonstration Tractor parade

Perry Lane, Bledlow, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 9PA. Saturday, 31st May, 10am-5pm Show secretary: 07803 554078

Tug ‘o’ war contest

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014



Turn it up! with Stuart Robb Heads up! EP rocks

Music Column:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

The Powders

H Stuart Robb

OBBLE ON THE COBBLES will be making a welcome return to Aylesbury Town Centre on August 24th, 2014 courtesy of Aylesbury Town Council. There will be some major changes this year - all to be revealed in the next issue of Vale Life Magazine!

Turn it up! A Stuart Robb is an award-winning music professional who has supported the local music scene for over 15 years. He ran his own successful record label, and has organised countless gigs and music festivals (including Hobble on the Cobbles). Stuart is now actively supporting Friars Aylesbury, and the British Guitar Academy. Contact Stuart with local gig and music news at: Add gigs to our website what’s on diary at:

Live Music Friday 4 April: Geno Washington, £12, 8pm Queens Park Centre, Aylesbury Friday 4 April: Mike Bryant, 9.30pm The Green Man, Aylesbury Saturday 5 April: Haggis (Ska/2tone/Mod) The Britannia, Aylesbury, 8pm Friday 11 April: Lucy Ward (folk), 8pm, £10.50 Queens Park Centre, Aylesbury Friday 11 April: 8.45pm Ostinato (Covers 80s - present) Black Horse, Tring Saturday 12 April: John Otway, 8pm, £10.50 Queens Park Centre, Aylesbury Saturday 12 April: Rockfall, 9pm The Weavers, Aylesbury Friday 18 April: Ostinato (Covers 80s - present) Shoot Pool, Aylesbury, 10.45pm Friday 18 April: Snowblind (Black Sabbath trib) The Britannia, Aylesbury Saturday 26 April: The Brahmas (Covers & Original) Shoot Pool, Aylesbury Saturday 26 April: Blind Man’s Buff (Covers) The Bell, Tring Sunday 27 April: Jam Night, 8pm The Queens Head, Aylesbury Friday 2 May: Hustler, 9.30pm Shoot Pool, Aylesbury 66

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

ylesbury session musician and guitar tutor James Manders released his second single Sound in Me on March 3rd, the follow up single to the popular Bringing It Home, which was released back in December 2011. As a session musician James has performed alongside some of the world’s greatest artist’s including Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Emeli Sande, US Rappers Mann and Big Sean, and most recently Jake Bugg and the band Bastille. For more information, please contact James Manders on: Web:


n March 21st, local musician Mark Scobey will be performing his own Request-athon at The Green Man, Aylesbury in aid of Sport Relief. You can help him raise sponsorship by donating to his


James Manders has a new single out website: sponsor/markscobey


he Evolution of Friars Exhibition is open to the public from March 1st to July 5th at the Buckinghamshire County Museum, Aylesbury with rare posters, photographs and memorabilia from Friars extensive archive, as well as unique items, including guitars, keyboards, horns and drums on loan from artists who have performed there. For full details visit:

lown Away is the brand new 6-track rock EP by local musician Michael Lee, to be released on April 7th. To celebrate the release Michael will be having a launch party at Scorpios Bar (High Wycombe) on April 4th. Here you can witness Michael and his band performing the new material for the first time live, as well as some of Michael’s other popular songs. Michael describes the EP as a collection of his most hard hitting, energetic and melodic material yet: “I feel I have developed as a singer and a guitarist over the last few years and this EP showcases those abilities without detracting from the song.” To listen to Michael’s music, visit his website at:

Park festival on for May


ale-Life recently caught up with Michele Pethers from Crash Records, one of the organiser’s of Music in the Park (Thame), which this year will be on Sunday 4th May. Hi Michele, what is MITP all about? “The first festival was in 2011 and was a huge success. It is run in conjunction with Friends of Elms Park to raise awareness of Elms Park in Thame and to raise money to invest into the park, which we have achieved.“ What has been your biggest highlight? “The first MITP festival was probably the biggest highlight so far. We made it happen in just a few months with a very small team, we had no expectations, apart from making it the best event we possibly could, the people of Thame didn’t really know what to expect either, but lots more people than expected came and everyone had a great time. The festival now has a

Former Thame Mayor Nigel ChampkenWoods with singer Tony Hadley who opened last year’s event. Pic Nick White great reputation and is growing and establishing itself as a major event in the Thame calendar.” What can we expect this year? “This year we have some new acts and a few returning favourites. Invited back to headline this year’s event are SkaSouls UK, an amazing Madness/Ska tribute band who performed for us at the first festival. We’ll also welcome back young indie band SinFiction and the unusual Ukulele Band. We have

rapper Half Decent and 12 yearold Bill Watman, winner of the 11 - 14 age group at the Edinburgh guitar and music festival guitar competition 2013. The amazing Urban Strides dance troupe will be performing too. We try to offer a real mix of music across three stages on the day; so you will see classic rock, harp music and school choirs, indie, blues, party bands, along with a dedicated acoustic stage and of course Ben’s Buskstop, which allows any musicians to just turn up and perform. We have a dedicated children’s area with bouncy castles and mega slides, facepainting, and lots of stalls and traders, as well as a wide range of food outlets. Music in the Park has raised money to purchase lights for the Park and these should be installed in time for the event. This will also help local people make more use of the Park in the evenings.” l









Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

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Bike Rid


Sunday 8 th June 201 4 Stoke Ma ndeville Stadium

The Mix96 Tour de Vale Bike Ride is a fabulous, fun, family event that raises vital funds for WheelPower, The Stoke Mandeville based charity which transforms life through sport...


YOUR REG ISTRATIO WheelPo N FEE TO wer, Stoke : Guttman Mandeville n Ro Buckingha ad, Stoke Mand Stadium, eville, mshire, HP21 9P or enter P online at www.tou rdevale.c om

Charity Reg

ake 2014 the year that you take up the Mix96 Tour de Vale Bike Ride! You can pick one of three routes: 55 miles, 35 miles and 15 miles, starting and finishing at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, which will lead you through stunning Buckinghamshire countryside and villages, receiving a warm welcome at the refreshment stops along the way. This year’s event is on Sunday, June 8th. It’s not a race but microchip timing has been introduced for those who would like their speed and distance monitored. Last year over 1,500 registered cyclists took part in the ride raising an awesome £34,000 to help disabled people. Thousands of men, women and children become disabled due to an accident or illness every year and like many people who are born with a disability, they need to use a wheelchair. Based at Stoke Mandeville, birthplace of the Paralympic movement, WheelPower helps disabled people play sport and lead healthy, active lives through a range or sports programmes and events and you can support their work by entering this year’s tour and getting friends and family to sponsor your efforts. It’s easy to enter - come to one of our Aylesbury sign up days: Hale Leys Shopping Centre on Sat 26th April or Friars Square on 10th May, or see: and enter online or print off and post in an entry form. Pre-registration costs £12.50 per adult, with children under 16* FREE (*they must be accompanied by an adult though), Handcyclists are FREE too. On day entry costs £25 for each rider.

No. 265498


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Images courtesy of Kee Photographics

All participants are asked to raise some sponsorship in support of the WheelPower charity, so ask your family, friends and work colleagues (many companies will match their employees’ fundraising), your local shop, gym or anyone else you can think of! You can also raise funds securely online at Sport has the power to transform lives and has tremendous benefits for people with disabilities: improved health and physical strength; increased self esteem and confidence

and improved social opportunities, all of which result in a better quality of life and independence. Disabled people are far less likely to be physically active though - according to Sport England’s active people survey 2013 only 18.5% of people with a disability regularly play sport compared to 39.2% of the general population. WheelPower helps ● Increase the number of disabled people leading healthy and active lives ● Increase the number of sporting opportunities for disabled people ● Raise awareness of wheelchair sport ● Build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to inspire more disabled people to play sport l WheelPower, Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Guttmann Road, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks, HP21 9PP Tel: 01296 395995 Fax: 01296 424171 Email: Website: Charity No. 265498


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Computers are everywhere today and many of us are very reliant upon them. But who do you turn to when there’s a technical problem or you just can’t get it to do what you want it to...


omputers can be frustrating things! One minute everything is working fine and then they freeze, or that icon you used to click on just isn’t there anymore, or your emails won’t send, or... These things always seem to happen at the worst time too, when you are rushing to print off your airline tickets before leaving for the airport or when you need to email something urgently! Those of us who are relatively computer literate may find that we are in demand to supply computer support when such things happen. We’ve all got older family members who are not so confident with the latest technology and being constantly on call to provide help with the most basic operator issues can strain the most loving of relationships! Fortunately those clever people at

Cartridge World have come up with I.T. Lifesaver, a 24 hour computer support service with fully trained technicians on hand. The scheme is designed to provide complete peace of mind and offers various options for support and back up (a safety copy of your files kept securely for you). Bronze Service gives you 100GB encrypted back up on a secure server (£2.99 per month / £29.99 per year). Silver Service offers 24/7 support plus 2GB back up (£7.99 per month / £79.99 per year). Gold Service offers 24/7 support plus 100GB back up (£9.99 per month / £29.99 per year). Business Platinum Service offers business tech support plus 100GB back up (£17.99 per month or £179.99 per year). Once you’ve signed up, which can be

done online at: www.cartridgeworld. or at the local Aylesbury branch on Parton Road, you just click on the desktop icon provided or call: 01403 800149 and a technician will remotely access your computer and attend to your problem. Of course Cartridge World are still there to supply or refill your printer cartridges and now offer their ‘Infinity’ option, whereby you pay a set monthly amount (from £9.99) and they will supply you with a printer and unlimited ink cartridge refills. They can also supply and refill laser printer cartridges. l Cartridge World Aylesbury, 32 Parton Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1NG Tel:01296 434666 Web: Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Background image by Mini Grey

Here comes summer - and here come some brilliant new courses tailor-made for adults to stretch themselves physically and mentally at everything from circus skills to cheese-making


hy should kids have all the fun?! Enjoyment for grownups is the main item on the agenda at a brand new Summer School, where adults can sign up to try their hands at a variety of life-enhancing crafts and skills. This August, you can learn everything from circus skills to cheese-making, lampshade making to creative writing and illustrating children’s books to yoga, all at a brand new Summer School for adults, which will take place at Buckingham School from August 4th-8th. Buckingham Summer School is a superb opportunity to experience top-quality, affordable, local courses with excellent tutors. Courses last from one to five days, so there really is something for everyone. You can learn a new skill, develop an existing one, or maybe rekindle an old interest. Lorna Spencer, Summer School director, says: “Whatever your interest or level of skill, there will be something for you. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from brilliant, experienced tutors at a location close to home. Courses are very affordably priced particularly given the quality of the tutors, many of whom have won awards, published books and even appeared on TV. “There is so much enthusiasm already for the Summer School that we’re hoping it will become an annual event, expanding to include additional subjects, so do let us know if there is something you would like to see included in the future.” This Summer’s tutors include: l Children’s author Mini Grey, who has won the Kate Greenaway Award, amongst many others.

Total Vocal - Vocal Magic


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Cheese-making with Louise Stained glass making l Louise Talbot, far right, of ‘Cutting the Curd’, who is offering her super cheese-making day course - usually you’d have to travel to the Waitrose Cookery School or Leith’s for this! l Gretel Parker, whose Needle Felt courses are massively popular - and she has a new book out soon. l Steve Thomson, aka ‘Steve the Juggler’, who will be teaching Circus Skills. l Peter Keegan, who is offering two Oil Painting courses, recently won the Artist & Illustrator Magazine ‘People’s Choice’ Award. l Elizabeth Cake, of Midnight Bell Lampshades, who published her first book last year and will be teaching the skills to make your own drum and bell lampshades. These are just a few of the many excellent tutors involved. The Summer School aims to be a relaxed and enjoyable experience with a Summer School Café offering light lunches


Learn to make your own funky lampshade with Elizabeth Cake

and snacks, and work by some of the tutors on exhibition and available for purchase. It’s a great place to go and learn with a friend or group of friends - or go alone and leave with lots of new friends! There are limited places on each course, so take a look at the Buckingham Summer School website now and book your place as soon as possible. l Buckingham Summer School Tel: 01296 340333 Email: Web:

Circus skills

l Column: Catherine Stoker Learning process

A sixth sense for subject choices? Independent education consultant Catherine Stoker advises on matching sixth form subject choices to university course ambitions...


ocal schools are currently working with year 11 students to advise on subject choices for sixth form. The Russell Group of Universities often highlight that students with ambitions to study courses with very competitive entry requirements should focus on subjects which are generally recognised for being academically rigorous, advising students for example to avoid taking too many ‘soft’ subjects such as some of those which encompass the word studies. Just how therefore do teenagers decide on the right subjects to suit their individual interests, talents and ambitions? Enjoyment of a subject is directly linked to success, so choose subjects in which you have previously attained good grades and in which you find the teacher inspiring.

Learning process Catherine Stoker Listen to advice as to whether the school feels you have the ability to take your chosen subjects to the next level. Review past results in each subject, as these will usually indicate the quality of teaching in this area. Consider the assessment format for the subjects you wish to study. Coursework, project work or extended essay may suit some more than examinations. Sixth form courses should be a step along the pathway to a job or

further education. It is important, to have a general idea of where you are heading after school. An end goal with target grades for a course of interest also helps with motivation. Remember apprenticeships now offer an excellent alternative to university as a pathway into a job. Some university courses require study of specific subjects prior to entry, others will not. It is best to research or seek advice to ensure you are not narrowing your course options through making the wrong subject choices now. Studying at least two or three facilitating subjects such as Maths, English (Literature), Sciences, Geography, History or Languages (Classical and Modern) will ensure you are able to cope with a university course, building on knowledge gained in sixth form. Sixth form is about an all-round education and a preparation for life after school. As well as attaining good grades in academic studies, developing employability skills, interview techniques and life skills is of equal importance. While

reflecting on subject choices, also start thinking about work experience, charity or voluntary work, Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh, The Arts or shadowing someone in a career that interests you. Start looking after your CV now. It will make writing your personal statement for your UCAS application or applying for apprenticeships or jobs far easier, when that time comes. l Catherine Stoker is Managing Director of the Independent Education Consultants, offering timely advice for parents on all aspects of education - from choosing a school, transition at 7+, 11+, 13+ and 16+ to career planning and applying to university. For more details about their team of experts, their services and how they support parents in making the right education choices, visit: www. independenteducationconsultants. Catherine’s blog offers weekly tips for parents on all aspects of education. Follow her via the link http://futureschoolsfairs.blogspot.

l Education: Kim Bayley, Consultant

Unlock your child’s potential


uckinghamshire, like Kent and other pockets of the UK, operates the 11-plus system. There is huge (not least parental) pressure on some children to pass the exam. What happens when they ‘fail’? Worse, perhaps, what happens when they just make it to a grammar school, as a result of ‘coaching for the test’ and then realise they’re out of their depth? Meanwhile in Oxfordshire, similar pressures arise when children are coached to pass Common Entrance exams to get into independent schools. The tutoring industry - worth an estimated £1bn annually - has been described as ‘the wild west of education’! Despite calls for better regulation, parents often have no idea what they’re going to get when they sign up for hundreds of pounds worth of tuition. Besides, the knee-

jerk reaction of hiring a tutor may actually do more harm than good if the tutor’s teaching method and approach are different from the class teacher’s. Schools operate in a state of perpetual readiness for the next OfSted inspection. Many are sacrificing personalised teaching and learning for so-called ‘OfSted-proof ’ lesson formats, designed to ‘evidence progress every 20 minutes’; or imposing an assessment and marking regime which exhausts teachers, leaving them too tired to engage with parents except in ritualistic five minute slots at parents’ evenings. It is the confluence of these themes which gave me the idea for Jigsaw Education, the education consultancy I set up last year. My philosophy, based on my own education and experience, is that parents and schools should work more closely together to encourage

children to become independent learners. Operating in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, Jigsaw Education is unique, offering an integrated approach to learning and study that enables parents to unlock their child’s potential, helping them to get the most out of their learning. Study skills and strategies, not taught in school, and the astute use of resources are part of the equation. Visit the Jigsaw Education website ( and discover how an Individual Learning Profile™ could benefit your child. You can also download a free sixstep study guide and receive free, impartial advice about any aspect of your child’s education.

Kim Bayley Jigsaw Education l Kim Bayley, founder of Jigsaw

Education, has 20 years’ commercial experience in a variety of blue-chip companies and more recently 12 years in teaching - six of these as Curriculum Leader and Head of Department. Kim also works in Initial Teacher Training and has three children who have gone right through the system and one just starting at secondary school.

l Jigsaw Education Ltd

Web: Tel: 07956 703028 Email:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


l Column: On

The Road

Doubling up Skoda Yeti 2014

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he myth of the Yeti was shattered a long time ago. No longer are they one of the unseen wonders of the world - we’ve all spotted one at some time or another. Thanks to Top Gear and one J Clarkson, everyone wanted the four wheeled variety as sold by Skoda and now there is not just one Yeti in the sales brochures but two! It arrives in the UK at a time when things are most definitely on the up for the Milton Keynes based importer. They’ve just had their fourth record year here with over 66,000 sales - up 23% to take just under 3% of the market thanks to cars like the Octavia and the Yeti. The new 2014 Yeti is an improvement in two variants - Yeti and Yeti Outdoor, the latter with its own distinctive styling that gives it a slightly more rugged look but with prices that are exactly the same model for model as its stablemate and which start at a reasonably competitive £16,600.

Rob Auchterlonie

ON The Road The facelift is obvious yet subtly different - gone are the trademark big round lights that gave it its cheeky character, replaced by foglights sited lower in the front grille in a look that has ‘precise edges, crisp lines and bold curves’. Or a softer, less in-your-face look if you like. Still evident are the excellent practicality and proportions of the original Yeti, helped in no small part by Skoda’s excellent Varioflex seating system and it’s mpv rivalling flexibility. The three rear

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seats can be individually folded or removed completely. Boot capacity is either 510 litres or a whopping 1760 litres with the seats out. The revised interior gets an update, the dash featuring new trim inserts and a three spoke multi-function steering wheel, while new fabrics and seat options freshen up the comfort side. The ranges kick off with the highly impressive 1.2 TSI petrol engine. Anyone thinking that’s too small for a decent sized car take note: it’s not and it copes admirably well. A variety of Diesel engines are also available, including the decent 1.6 in the Yeti Greenline II and its relatively clean 119g CO2/km. Four wheel drive is very much to the fore in the Yeti Outdoor

and it employs the very latest fifth generation Haldex clutch system. Very ably demonstrated to us in a highly wet and boggy Gloucestershire field. So it should cope with kerbs outside primary schools with ease.... Just watch those doors sills though. They’re high, attract dirt and are just waiting to catch out an unsuspecting trouser leg as you get out.

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l Column: Alan Candy’s Altomobiles

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Poetry in motion BMW 4-Series Coupe


hen BMW decides to flex its muscles, the rest had better look out. Especially when the car in question is arguably the most exotic and impressive coupe on the market. This is the awesome and undeniably beautiful BMW 435i, which heralds the dawn of a new coupe era at the legendary German company. In the numbers game, 3 now becomes 4 for BMW so far as coupes and cabriolets are concerned. And that means more than just a mathematical change. The new BMW 4 Series coupe is noticeably longer and wider than the outgoing 3 Series Coupe and the dynamically stretched coupe silhouette sits considerably lower to the road. Add in BMW’s typical short overhangs, long bonnet and setback passenger compartment and it’s a mightily impressive visual treat - a genuine head-turner.

Alan Candy’s

AltomobilES Not that it could be anything else other than a BMW. The iconic double kidney front grille is inevitably present, while twin circular headlights and a large air intake in the front apron show its family ties with the 3 Series, whilst muscular wheel arches and air breathers near the front give the 4 a look all of its own. Inevitably, BMW has designed it to be an unadulterated driving machine. Key improvements have been made in areas such as steering accuracy, precision and agility, with 50:50 weight distribution and innovative

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

BMW 435i lightweight construction all playing their part in making this a driving delight. One six-cylinder and two fourcylinder engines were available from launch, with a choice of six-speed manual gearbox or eight-speed sports automatic. The car’s understated, ultrasmart and supremely simple interior is just as successful and a lesson in sensible ergonomics. An uncluttered, low level, slim dashboard allows great forward vision and there’s plenty of lush bonnet on view to point and aim accurately. Small, neat main dials are orange lit at night and there’s a neat bank of minor switchgear to hand. ‘Infotainment’ is governed by BMW’s straightforward rotary wheel on the centre console to quickly scroll through all the various options. There’s also a head-up display that projects your speed on the windscreen straight ahead of the driver as a useful visual reminder. Navigational System Professional, which offers extra capability, sharper graphics and 3D elements for the map display; Driving Assistant Plus, which warns of a potential collision with a pedestrian; the intelligent, glare-free LED High Beam assistant; Active Protection with

Attentiveness Assistant and the latest Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function are a reminder of just how far BMW is prepared to reach into the future in terms of excellence - without baffling the driver in the process. Low slung highest grade leather seats are wonderfully supportive and comfortable and that big twinturbocharged straight six engine delivers stunning performance, with a 0-62mph sprint of just 5.1 seconds and a spine-tingling howl to accompany it. The lowest centre of gravity in the entire BMW range plays its part in pin-sharp driving accuracy and athletic balance that makes the big BMW a joy to pilot – it also hunkers down into the bends in style. The 435i is designed to excite and exhilarate and in this, it achieves its aims impeccably. Factfile: BMW 4-Series Coupe, prices from £29,420-£41,655. 435i powered by six-cylinder 24v engine of 2,979cc. 0-62mph in 5.1 secs. 306hp @ 5,800-6,400rpm. Twin Power Turbo technology. High body stiffness. Lowest centre of gravity in BMW range.

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014


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Centre rebrand means even better value for local motorists


otologic Autocentre, formerly known as HiQ Autocentre have rebranded. Local owner Oliver Pearson and his staff still run the centre and will continue to do so. “We will still be offering the same outstanding customer service and exceptional value for money on MOTs, services, tyres and repairs,” says Oliver. “We feel our Autocentre bridges the gap between a dealership and a traditional local garage. “We made the decision to rebrand because we wish to concentrate more on our local customers and not be part of a national network. “Having spent the last three years as part of a national network we could see that we were best placed to know our customers’ needs and that those needs would be better served if we maintained control at a local level. It will allow us to offer even better value to our customers whilst still retaining our high standards of service. “We would like customers old and new to feel free to come and visit us for any of the services we offer or just for some friendly advice. “We would like to offer Vale Life readers MOTs for only £25 - just quote ‘ValeLifeMOT25’ when you book in. “We also offer free tracking and tyre checks and a free holiday motoring check. We look forward to seeing you soon.”

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l Column: Jonathan Vernon-Smith

Consumer Affairs

Award-winning BBC Three Counties presenter Jonathan Vernon-Smith extends his Consumer Hour to report for Vale Life Magazine on consumer issues that could effect you...


f you’re like me, you will find car insurance renewal time one of the most irritating experiences. With every passing year I get a little older, a little more mature, a little more experienced behind the wheel, I NEVER make a claim and yet my insurance company feels it’s perfectly acceptable to ask me to pay a little more. Why? Well they hope that most customers are too busy with their lives to quibble over an additional £30. They hope we’ll just put the letter to one side and allow it to renew automatically. Oh how they misjudge some of us! The fact is if you haven’t made a claim or changed your circumstances, you should expect your insurance to go DOWN not UP at renewal time. Therefore it’s very important that the savvy consumer ensures this happens. Let me explain how I do it. When I receive my renewal notice, I instantly go online and use some of the comparison websites (‘Go Compare’ and ‘Money supermarket’ being just two). I put in my details and see if I can beat the renewal price I’ve been offered by my existing insurance company. Please only compare with good, reputable insurance companies. There are always some (that no-one’s ever heard of) that come back with a price that’s very reasonable. Life is too short to have car insurance from a useless company though, so don’t make this mistake. I then get quotes from some of the companies that are NOT on price comparison websites, e.g. ‘Direct Line’ & ‘Privilege’. Without fail, I always find an insurance company that wants my business and is prepared to offer a reduced price to the one I’ve been quoted already. The whole job takes about an hour, but it’s an hour well spent if you’ve saved yourself £50 or more. At this point, you also need to consider cashback sites like ‘Quidco’ to see if you can save further money by taking insurance out through them. Armed with all the information, I then go back to my existing insurance company and let the negotiations begin. I opt for the “if you’re thinking of leaving us” number on the automated phone system and explain that I’ve been a customer of theirs for some time and am rather disappointed that

they are expecting me to pay more for my insurance. I tell them I’ve done some shopping around and have found another insurance company that will beat their price. I ask them to have a look at their system to see what’s the best price they can offer me (I never make the mistake of showing my hand at this point). 9 times out of 10 they come back with a price that’s even better than the best price you’ve found from the alternative company, but if not, you’ve then got that up your sleeve. I have literally saved myself hundreds and hundreds of pounds by using this method every renewal time. The funny thing is, I’m still with the same insurance company I’ve been with for 12 years now. They just keep beating those prices. Funny that! The truth is though that if they didn’t, I would simply switch and save myself the money. While I’m on the subject of car insurance, there are a couple of other pointers I would suggest: 1. Always add another responsible driver to your policy. Insurance companies consider you to be a lower risk if you’re married or in a partnership and can put your other half on the policy. If not, it’s worth trying to add a friend with a good driving history. You may just save yourself a few quid. 2. Consider protecting your no claims bonus. If you are unfortunate enough to have to make a claim, this will prevent the policy from soaring. 3. Take the motor legal protection cover. In a dispute situation it can be invaluable. Probably the best £25 you’ll ever spend. 4. Try to accurately predict your annual mileage. There’s no point in you being insured for the risk of driving 20,000 miles a year if in fact you only drive 2,000. 5. Be honest with your insurance company. Lying may save you money initially, but if you get caught out (which you probably will), your insurance will be invalidated and you’ll face a MASSIVE bill! Happy motoring! l Listen to The JVS Show weekday mornings from 9am on BBC Three Counties Radio: threecountiesradio 77 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2014

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Vale Life Magazine Mar/Apr 2014  

Local interest lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury, Tring, Thame, Wendover and surrounding area of UK.

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